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2014 Training Camp Preview: Defensive Backs

Posted Jul 10, 2014

The Dolphins have built up solid depth in the secondary and the coaching staff will face difficult decisions at this position when it comes time to cutting the roster.


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The Dolphins have a good mix of veterans and young prospects in the secondary after the offseason acquisitions of former Titans and Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan and former Lions safety Louis Delmas.

They join a secondary led by Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes and safety Reshad Jones, but also featuring a couple of second-year cornerbacks who the Dolphins selected early in the 2013 draft and who they hope can take a big step — Jamar Taylor and Will Davis.

With safety and nickel corner Jimmy Wilson, late-season addition Michael Thomas and rookie fourth-round pick Walt Aikens also in the mix, the Dolphins have built up solid depth in the secondary and the coaching staff will face difficult decisions at this position when it comes time to cutting the roster.

BREAKING DOWN DOLPHINS DEFENSIVE BACKS

RETURNING VETERANS

• CB Jalil Brown (6-1, 204) — Brown was inactive for the last two games of the 2013 season after being claimed off waivers from the Indianapolis Colts. Brown has appeared in 34 NFL games with Indianapolis and Kansas City after being a fourth-round pick of the Chiefs in 2011.

• CB Will Davis (5-11, 186) — The 2013 third-round pick shined in training camp last summer, but his progress was slowed by a couple of minor injuries and he ended up appearing in only five games as a rookie.

• CB Brent Grimes (5-10, 183) — After being signed to a one-year deal last offseason, Grimes turned into one of the greatest free agent signings in franchise history. Grimes was tremendous in coverage all season, tied for the team lead with four interceptions and earned a well-deserved spot in the Pro Bowl.

• CB Don Jones (5-11, 191) — The 2013 seventh-round pick didn’t see any action on defense as a rookie, but he wasted little time making an impact on special teams. He actually was good enough in that phase of the game that he earned NFL All-Rookie honors as a special-teamer.

• S Reshad Jones (6-1, 210) — The longest-tenured member of the secondary, Jones is heading into his fifth season after reaching 100 tackles for the first time in his career. Jones earned praise from Head Coach Joe Philbin in the offseason for improved practice habits.

• S Jordan Kovacs (5-10, 210) — Kovacs contributed on special teams while appearing in nine games as a rookie free agent after bouncing on and off the Dolphins practice squad.

• CB Jamar Taylor (5-10, 192) — The 2013 second-round pick from Boise State looked much improved during the offseason practices after his rookie season was derailed by sports hernia surgery last spring. Taylor, who was limited to nine games last season, even could find himself challenging for a starting job.

• S Michael Thomas (5-11, 196) — Thomas quickly made a name for himself after joining the Dolphins late last season with his game-clinching end-zone interception against the New England Patriots, and now he’s hoping to build on that. Thomas added some muscle in the offseason and he could be a valuable asset with his ability to play both safety and cornerback.

• S Jimmy Wilson (5-11, 205) — Wilson already has proven a steal as a seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft and his role continues to increase. He’s become a valuable member of the secondary and he’s also already tied the franchise record with three career punt blocks.

VETERAN ADDITIONS

• S Louis Delmas (5-11, 202) — Delmas joined the Dolphins after spending the previous five seasons with the Lions. A second-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Delmas showed his playmaking ability in 2013 when he finished with three interceptions and two sacks.

• CB Cortland Finnegan (5-10, 179) — In his first eight seasons in the NFL, Finnegan developed a reputation as one of the most aggressive cornerbacks in the NFL. But he’s also been a playmaker, as evidenced by his 18 career interceptions. Finnegan is hoping to rebound from an injury-plagued 2013 season and he spent a good deal of time in the spring mentoring his new young teammates.

ROOKIES OR FIRST-YEAR PLAYERS

• CB Walt Aikens (6-1, 205) — The Dolphins’ fourth-round pick, Aikens began his collegiate career as a safety at the University of Illinois before becoming a cornerback at Liberty.

• DB Steven Clarke (5-10, 189) — A native of Jamaica who grew up in South Florida, Clarke is listed as a defensive back on the roster instead of cornerback or safety. He also returned kickoffs at Vanderbilt, in addition to getting practice time at running back in the summer of 2010.

• CB Kevin Fogg (5-10, 182) — Fogg, who was signed after participating in the June minicamp on a tryout basis, played in the same secondary as Walt Aikens and both earned first-team All-Big South Conference honors in 2013.

• DB Demetrius Wright (6-0, 203) — Wright is listed as a defensive back on the roster even though he played at safety for all of his four years at USC.
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