Dolphins Take The Fifth With Four Players

Posted May 2, 2015

Miami selected Memphis cornerback Bobby McCain, Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, Minnesota safety Ced Thompson and Michigan State cornerback Tony Lippett.


The Dolphins had their busiest NFL draft round in more than a decade Saturday, and they certainly came up with some interesting selections in that busy fifth round.

With those four picks, the Dolphins selected Memphis cornerback Bobby McCain, Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, Minnesota safety Ced Thompson and Michigan State cornerback Tony Lippett.

McCain and Lippett were obtained with picks obtained in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday; Ajayi was selected with the Dolphins’ own pick; and Thompson was selected with a pick obtained from Minnesota in the trade that sent wide receiver Mike Wallace to the Vikings.

It was the most picks in any round for the Dolphins since 2001 when they had four selections in the sixth round — tackle Brandon Winey, quarterback Josh Heupel, defensive end Otis Leverette and linebacker Rick Crowell.

McCain (5-10, 195) is a big-play cornerback who had 11 interceptions the past two seasons, and he had four interception returns for touchdowns during his time at Memphis.

“I put myself in position (to make plays) by film study, by studying the game,” McCain said. “Everybody can run fast and jump high, and so can I, but it’s that extra thing you’re going to do in the film room, that extra 15 minutes on the field, the extra time you’re going to spend on the scout team, it’s the little things that’s going to enable you to make the big plays that you want to make in the big moments.”

McCain, who started 43 games at Memphis, becomes the third Dolphins player named McCain. He joins fellow cornerback Brice McCain and defensive end Chris McCain.

He joins a cornerback corps that also includes Pro Bowl selection Brent Grimes, as well as 2013 draft picks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, and free agent acquisition Zack Bowman.

McCain said Grimes and 2014 starter Cortland Finnegan were two of his favorite NFL cornerbacks because of their successful careers despite not possessing so-called ideal size.

“They’re smart guys,” McCain said. “They’re really competitive guys and they can always play with a chip on their shoulder and always compete for the football. They’re going to tackle you, they’re going to strip for the ball. They’re going to do the little things, just like I like to do myself.”

Ajayi became last season the first player in the Football Bowl Subdivision to gain at least 1,800 rushing yards and at least 500 rushing yards.

Ajayi had an amazing 32 touchdowns last season, 28 on the ground and four on receptions.

Based on production and talent alone, Ajayi would have been drafted a lot earlier than the fifth round, but reports indicated some teams were concerned about a knee issue.

“I did think that I was going to go earlier, so I was definitely disappointed,” Ajayi said. “At the same time, I can only control what I can control. I know right now at this very moment that I’m extremely healthy and I’m ready to go into camp and ready to contribute right away. I’m excited that the Dolphins took a chance on me and I’m ready to just prove a lot of people wrong and prove the Dolphins right.

“I know with my knee and the way that I make sure that I handle it I will play for a long time and I’m just excited to see how my future unfolds and I’m excited to be a Dolphin.”

Ajayi, who was born in England, gives the Dolphins a physical presence at running back. He was compared by to Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch.

“I think I’m a very versatile payer,” Ajayi said. “I’ve shown to be able to move the chains on third down with power and I’ve shown that I’ve been able to have big plays using my speed, catching the ball out of the backfield and running on the outside and inside. I’m a very versatile player that can do a lot for the Dolphins.

“I watched a lot of Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster and Matt Forte and I just try to add pieces of their game to mine. Those are guys that I look up to.”

Thompson, 6 feet, 208 pounds, started 32 games at Minnesota the last four seasons. He was second on the team in tackles last season with 83 and also had two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Thompson, whose brother is a defensive back at Colorado, earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades last season.

“I’m a sure tackler,” Thompson said. “I don’t miss tackles. I think the biggest thing about my playing style is that I have a lot of upside. I’ve only played this position competitively for three years and I know that I have a lot of upside to be a great NFL safety. That’s what I’m going to strive to be.”

Lippett joins the Dolphins after being a rare two-way player at Michigan State last season. Lippett started at wide receiver for a third consecutive season and also started two games at cornerback.

Lippett started five games at cornerback as a freshman in 2011 before playing exclusively at wide receiver the next two seasons.

The Dolphins are going to use him initially as a cornerback, which Lippett says is fine with him.

“I don’t really have a preference,” Lippett said. “I’m an athlete. I feel like I can play on either side of the ball. I just want to go in there and get an opportunity and get a shot to play and just make something happen.

“I feel like it’s a challenge, but if anybody knows me, they know I’m open to a lot of challenges. I feel good about this decision, about their decision of choosing me. I’m just grateful for this opportunity. It’s a blessing and I’ll be ready to go, ready to compete. There’s going to be a learning period, but I’m willing to do that. I’m ready.”
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