Let me start with the departure of Sean Smith. Smith was a very good cover corner. He was in the right position to make a play more often than not. Unfortunately for Smith and Dolphins fans, he dropped more than he caught. The outcome of many games could have been changed if he had hung on to a few of those possible interceptions. I'm not going to go into Smith's stats. We all know the interceptions just weren't there, so now he's not here.
On to the guys that are here:
Reshad Jones, S
Jones had a very good season last year. His stat line was on the verge of being impressive:
| 94 tackles | Nine passes defensed | Four interceptions | One sack |
That's a nice line. Pro Football Focus ranked him third in the NFL among safeties, behind only Eric Weddle and Jarius Byrd. I have heard a lot of clamoring for a long term extension for Mr. Jones, and based on last year he probably deserves one, but can we base $30-40 million on one year? Here are Jones' stats the previous 2 years:
| 2010 | 14 tackles | One sack | One interception |
| 2011 | 62 tackles | Two sacks | One interception |
Not great, but not terrible. In my opinion if he has another year like last that's when we make the bigger offer. I would just hate to sign a one year wonder to a long term, big money deal.
Clemons had a steady season. He registered 96 tackles and two interceptions. At only 27 years old, Clemons still has a lot of football left in him. The Dolphins just re-signed him to a one-year deal, probably looking to see what results they get this year before offering a multi-year deal.
Jimmy Wilson, S
The Dolphins only have one other safety currently on the roster with any NFL experience at all, and that would be Jimmy Wilson. Wilson had 35 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble last year.
The other safeties currently on the roster are either rookies or undrafted free agents:
Don Jones - Seventh round pick out of Arkansas St.
Keelan Johnson - Undrafted free agent out of Arizona St.
Kelcie McCray - Spent all of last year on the injured reserve after being an undrafted free agent
In my opinion we still need to address the safety position. Reshad Jones could be the answer, but after only one year of production it's too early to tell.
On to the cornerbacks. Let's start on the left side. This is where the newly acquired Brent Grimes will most likely line up. Grimes isn't particularly big at 5'10", 185 pounds. Maybe that's why in his six year career he has only played all 16 games twice (2009 and 2010), and it's probably no coincidence that those were his best years in the takeaway department with six 2009 and five in 2010. I have to think that no matter how we slice it, we have gained talent in the secondary just by his signing.
One thing that I do see as interesting is the fact that in his six years with Atlanta he never registered a sack. Maybe that's because of the system they ran. I'm not sure, but I would think that at some time in six years they would have used him to run a corner blitz at least once. Coming off of his achilles tear and only signing a one year deal, I think Mr. Grimes will feel he has a lot to prove so that he can get a long term deal here or somewhere else.
Backing up Grimes will be Nolan Carroll and the newly drafted Will Davis. Carroll was a fifth round draft choice by the Dolphins back in 2010. He doesn't have a great stat line just because he hasn't had a ton of field time. He has two interceptions and one sack to his credit. He's also returned some kickoffs, and he averaged 24.3 yards per return back in the 2010 season. Davis was a 3rd round pick in this year's draft. He has nice size, but isn't too big at 5'11" and 186 pounds. Davis is physical and in the right place most of the time as his senior season college number show:
| 3 interceptions | 14 passes defensed | Three and a half tackles for a loss |
Now let's take a look at the right side. Richard Marshall was signed before last season to man this position, which he did for four games before a back injury put him on the shelf for the remainder of the year. Marshall has nice size at 5'11 and 200 pounds and was relatively quick seven years ago when he was drafted in the second round by the Carolina Panthers. He ran a very respectful 4.42 40-yard dash. Marshall's stats are consistent, if not spectacular: 18 interceptions and seven sacks in his six and a quarter seasons.
The thing I like about Taylor is he's always around the ball. As a senior he had three and a half tackles for a loss, two and a half sacks, four interceptions, and nine pass breakups. He's not completely polished. He does have a couple of flaws. He bites hard on play action, and he will need to learn how to stay home or he will get torched early and often.
Next on the depth chart would be R.J. Stanford. He was drafted in the seventh round in 2010 by Carolina, and he had one interception for them as a rookie and basically no stat line for the Dolphins last year.
There is one more player that I would like to go over: Dimitri Patterson. Patterson is a 5'10", 200 pound seven year veteran. He has five interceptions and one sack in his career. The Dolphins signed him to a three year, $16.05 million dollar contract before last season with $6 million guaranteed. He will have a 2013 salary of $4.5 million and a 2014 salary of $5.3 million. In many people's eyes these figures make him a cap casualty this year, probably during training camp. The play of the two rookies will probably dictate Patterson's Dolphins fate. If they play well, he will become expendable.
Well there you have a brief synopsis of the Dolphins current secondary.
Compared to last year this Shout writer is overjoyed with the new talent. I still wish we had gone after the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu. I think he may be the steal of the draft, but we didn't so let's move on with what we have. I didn't get into systems or salaries (other than Patterson's) for a reason. I didn't want to lean the conversation one way or the other so we can just talk about who we think will be here in September and who we think won't be.
Thanks for reading along and offering YOUR OPINIONS.