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Position Review: Defensive Backs

Posted Jan 15, 2018

Season-ending starters: CB Xavien Howard, CB Cordrea Tankersley, S Reshad Jones, S T.J. McDonald

Season-ending backups: CB/S Jordan Lucas, CB Bobby McCain, CB Torry McTyer, CB/S Walt Aikens, CB Alterraun Verner, S Trae Elston

Ended season on reserve lists: S Maurice Smith, S Nate Allen, S Michael Thomas, CB Tony Lippett

2017 transactions (after final roster cuts):

Sept. 3 — Signed CB/S Jordan Lucas to the practice squad
Oct. 3 — Signed CB/S Jordan Lucas to the active roster from the practice squad
Oct. 24 — Released CB Byron Maxwell
Oct. 31 — Placed S Nate Allen on injured reserve
Nov. 11 — Activated S T.J. McDonald from Reserve/Suspended by Commissioner list
Dec. 2 — Placed S Maurice Smith on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list
Dec. 4 — Signed CB David Rivers III to the practice squad
Dec. 20 — Releaded CB David Rivers III from the practice squad; signed CB Taveze Calhoun to the practice squad
Dec. 21 — Signed CB Tracy Howard to the practice squad
Dec. 29 — Acquired S Trae Elston from waivers (Buffalo); placed S Michael Thomas on injured reserve

2018 free agents: S Nate Allen (UFA), S Michael Thomas (UFA), CB Alterraun Verner (UFA), CB/S Walt Aikens (UFA)

2017 recap: Youth was served when it comes to the cornerback position as 2016 second-round pick Xavien Howard enjoyed a breakout season and 2017 third-round selection Cordrea Tankersley became a starter by the third game. Howard led the Dolphins with four interceptions, which came in back-to-back games against Denver and New England in December. Nickel corner Bobby McCain was among the most improved players on the team and he was tied for second with two picks. McCain was tied with safety Reshad Jones, who rebounded from the shoulder injury that cut short his 2016 season to earn his second Pro Bowl invitation in three years. Jones not only led the Dolphins in tackles, he scored two touchdowns and clinched the victory at Atlanta on Oct. 15 with an interception at the Miami 5-yard line in the final minute. Safety T.J. McDonald made an impact in the final nine games of the regular season after having to serve an eight-game league suspension. He was impressive enough during training camp that the Dolphins signed him to a four-year contract extension in early September. Fellow free agent acquisition Nate Allen started the first seven games at safety opposite Jones before landing on injured reserve because of a calf injury. Tankersley took over as the starter for the London game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 1 after veteran Byron Maxwell had started the first two games. Veteran Alterraun Verner started two games at cornerback, while Michael Thomas complemented his typically solid play on special teams by starting a game at safety and playing many snaps on defense. Rookie free agents Torry McTyer and Maurice Smith showed promise while making the most of their opportunities.

Stat that stands out: Howard became the first player in franchise history to record two interceptions in back-to-back games.

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