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Noah Igbinoghene The Darkhorse CB3 Candidate

The 4th year may be the charm for former first-round draft pick Noah Igbinoghene, and it’s happening just in time. 

Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Last week when Miami Dolphins star cornerback Jalen Ramsey injured his knee, and needed to be carted off the field, fans collective stomach dropped. The Byron Jones flashbacks started flickering, and cornerback depth became an immediate concern.

GM Chris Grier signed former Bengals cornerback Eli Apple to dispel that and bolstered the position group. Our starters with Jalen Ramsey out are Xavien Howard and Kader Kohou with CB3 up for grabs. The dolphins have three players fighting for that spot, and it’s anyone’s game.

The first names that would pop in your head are Eli Apple, and 2023 2nd round draft pick Cam Smith. You wouldn’t be wrong, but dark horse candidate Noah Igbinoghene has been impressive at camp and could turn back into the guy the Dolphins thought they were getting when they drafted him in the first round back in 2020. Omar Kelly, with SI (Sports Illustrated), has been our eyes on the ground during camp, and this is some of what he’s seen corroborated by our other star cornerback Xavien Howard.

When you think of a cornerback playing well, you think they’re getting interceptions, and pass breakups (aka PBU’s). In this case, not being noticed is just as good as making plays. It means that the coverage is so good that there’s no reason to target the receiver. Barely being targeted is the highest praise toward Igbo because he’s seen as a guy you would want to pick on, and for quarterbacks to not at least take chances that way has to be because he’s blanketing them.

Igbinoghene has been praising Vic Fangio’s system and how it can bring out the best strengths in his game, and it seems to be working. He’s also talked about the struggles he’s had in his first few years with the Dolphins, how it has brought him to the place he’s in now, and how it will translate onto the field.

Once a first-round draft pick with the expectation of being the next great Dolphins corner, he struggled in Josh Boyer’s predominantly man coverage scheme. He fell way down the depth chart and barely saw the field. He only started two games in 2022, but did have a solid game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and had the game-winning interception to seal the deal. Have to give him credit there. In 2023, with the new scheme, he’s been thriving, so whatever he’s doing, it’s working, and I hope to see more of it in camp.

Igbo may be a bit of a late bloomer, but if he can blossom into a starting-caliber player, that’ll help fill the void left in Jalen Ramsey’s absence.

Let us know in the comment who you think will capture the third cornerback spot.