If the Miami Dolphins are serious about adding depth and talent at the cornerback position, there are two players NFL draft forecasters have regularly identified as potential fits.
Tre’Davious White and Gareon Conley of LSU and Ohio State were standouts at universities that traditionally produce top-notch pro corners.
And White and Conley have these traits is common: the foot speed, footwork, pattern-matching skill and versatility to be productive outside or slot cover corners as Day 1 rookies.
Of course, they’re also both confident.
“I want to show I’m the best defensive back in this draft,” White said at the NFL scouting combine. “I 100 percent feel that way.”
Of course, some NFL draft experts think White’s teammate, safety Jamal Adams is actually the best defensive back in the draft. But Adams is a Top 10 pick.
Added Conley: “DB’s always think they’re the best.”
Some NFL draft experts think Conley’s teammates, safety Malik Hooker and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, are the best defensive backs in the draft. But they’re Top 10 picks.
Miami clearly needs help at defensive end, linebacker and guard. But the Dolphins, like many organizations, place a high priority on stockpiling corners.
So if they’re convinced White or Conley has Pro Bowl potential, and are unimpressed with the pass-rushers left on the board at pick 22, choosing a corner would not be a monumental upset.
According to NFL.com, White is an island cover corner with experience in the slot. The scouting report suggests White has “quick twitch with exceptional footwork,” is “patient in press and rarely commits prematurely,” “uses reactive quickness for quick recovery when beaten from slot,” is a “pattern reader (that) will jump path of route and attack throw” and has “plus click-and-close burst to ball.”
White, 5-feet-11, 192 pounds, is recognized more for his cover skills than tackling.
Pro Football Focus compares White to Adam “Pacman” Jones of the Bengals.
According to NFL.com, Ohio State’s Conley also is much better at covering wide receivers than tackling. Conley, 6-feet, 195 pounds, was a two-year Buckeyes starter.
The scouting report suggests Conley has “press-man talent with zone instincts,” “shows discipline and technique on verticals and curls,” “matches with his feet rather than grabbing,” “senses when his pattern is designed to clear space for another receiver and reacts accordingly” and “has plus burst to the throw.”
Pro Football Focus compares Conley to Bradley Roby of the Broncos.
Both players can run, have ball skills and can mirror top receivers.
White believes he can even play safety if needed.
“I can play inside, outside at a high level,” he said. “I play a game at the end of my junior year at safety, so I have pretty much a high football IQ, how to play all three positions in the defensive backfield at a high level.”
Conley downplayed the fact that younger defensive back teammates seem to get more hype in college and in the lead-up to the NFL draft. Conley also highlighted his strength as versatility.
“The ability to play press man and (have) versatility at nickel and corner,” he said.
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