Was The 2021 Draft Another All-In Move by The Packers?

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The 2021 draft seemed to throw a lot of knowledgeable Packers fans and bloggers for a loop. It seemed to deviate from the “typical” Packers draft. Many Packers bloggers cited previous draft statistics to help other fans identify potential Packers draft picks heading into the 2021 draft. For example, 22 of 25 plays that had a RAS score taken by Brian Gutekunst had a score of 8.0 or above.

These players tended to be somewhat raw with a lot of upside. These players were usually going to take a year or two to develop. The Packers were able to afford this because they usually drafted players a year before they were going to need that player to play an important role on offense or defense. Rashan Gary and Jordan Love are recent examples, further back guys like Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson. Players like David Bahktiari, Elgton Jenkins, and Corey Linsley were expected to sit out at least a year but were forced in early due to injuries.

Also, there were long-held thresholds the Packers held at certain positions. Whether that be a height minimum, weight minimum, certain positional experiences, or athleticism standards. hFor example, the front office never drafted receivers under 5’11. Randall Cobb is the only exception to that rule. Another similar one was at cornerback where since Ron Wolf they hadn’t drafted a cornerback under 5’10 ½ until of course Jaire Alexander who was 5’10 ¼. Outside of Corey Linsley, Caleb Schlauderaff, and Jake Hanson, every offensive lineman drafted by Ted or Gutekunst had tackle experience in college. But the interesting thing here is Gutekunst deviated from the Packers’ previous draft strategies in 2021. This is what is going to be delved into in this article and why. 

Pick #29:

First, let’s start with the Packers’ 1st pick. Eric Stokes from Georgia. With the selection of Stokes, he was not a deviation from the Packers’ usual MO. It is easy to see why. Stokes is 6’0 5/8th 194 with a RAS score of 9.37. Just from an athletic standpoint, he fits perfectly. He also went to a power five conference. Gutekunst seems to like to take players from those conferences with his first-round picks. Even more, Stokes played for a big program in Georgia that constantly is a good team and puts players in the NFL every year.

Another less talked about threshold that the front office seems to place on first-round picks is age. They do not take players in the first round older than 22 and prefer them to be 20 or 21. Stokes fit this as well. The only thing that stands out about Stokes was his agility testing. He tested poorly in the short shuttle and was very average in the 3 cone drill. The packers tend to prioritize these tests in all positions. They must have let it slide a little due to the rest of his testing being so good.

Stokes was the outlier in this group in that he fits the Packers’ usual draft pick. The rest of their picks fall out of their usual purview one way or another.

Pick #62:

Next would of course be Josh Myers from Ohio State. He had no athletic testing due to recovery from offseason surgery. But based on his film he was not an elite athlete. It is highly doubtful he would have scored at 8.0+ on the RAS scale. A lot of fans though were surprised by his selection. The consensus among most draft experts was that either Landon Dickerson from Alabama or Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma was the top center in the class. Dickerson went at pick 37 to the Eagles. But when the Packers pick came up and Humphrey was there people assumed if the Packers were going to take a center that they would take Humphrey. He fit their usual approach to the draft. The former Sooner scored an epic RAS of 10. He had a lot of upside to his game as well.

But the Packers surprised everyone and took Myers. People didn’t understand it. They felt the Packers screwed up in taking the “lower-rated” Myers. But the truth is there was a reason for this. Myers was a better fit for the Packers to come in and slide into the starting center spot. Firstly, he has a very high football IQ. Which gives him a pretty high floor. Also, he spent his career at Ohio State playing in a similar zone blocking scheme. So it would be a smoother transition to Green Bay’s system. Maybe his upside wasn’t as high as a Creed Humphrey, but that was not important to the packers right now. They were going to need him to hit the ground running.

Pick #85:

Now to their 3rd pick. Amari Rodgers from Clemson. He again did not fit the Packers’ thresholds. He was even shorter than Randall Cobb at 5/9 ½. His RAS score was even a low (for the Packers) 5.36. Another thing with Rodgers is he was not a receiver with much of an upside, which the Packers usually love. He mostly played out of the slot at Clemson. Like Myers, there was an exact role that they drafted him for. Of course, this was all before the Cobb trade. But the role that was planned for him was similar to Cobb. Play the slot, return some punts, and maybe get a few gadget plays here and there.

They knew his upside was limited. Rodgers’ size, athleticism, and short arms limit that. That is not why they drafted him. Rodgers will probably never be anything more than what he was drafted to be. While he can break some tackles due to his size and his savvy. He is not going to go out there and break 20 tackles and put up 900+ yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in a season. Rodgers may not even put up 800 yards in a season. But that’s not the role they will be asking him to fill, and they wanted him to be able to slide into that role as a rookie with minimal effort.

Pick #142:

With Green Bay’s 4th pick they took Royce Newman out of Ole Mississippi. Newman was taken to compete for a starting spot at guard and to offer tackle and guard depth if he couldn’t win a starting spot. Newman’s athletic testing did not scream Packer. His agility grades were kind of just OK. He did poorly on the 3 cone drill. Which has been said before the Packers value highly. His positional versatility did fit though. Newman is already 24 years old. The Packers usually don’t take guys that are that old. It usually speaks to them not having much of an upside. They have usually physically peaked and had minimal growth potential.

On film, he reminds you a bit of Mark Tauscher. In that, his technique isn’t perfect and he is not the greatest athlete, but he just somehow gets the job done. He does not look like the typical Packers offensive lineman who has the athleticism of a tackle in the body of a guard. He was just a two-year starter at Ole Miss so there is some upside there. The point is that he was drafted to see if he can compete for a starting job, if not though at least the Packers would have a decent depth lineman who could play guard or tackle.

Pick #173:

With their first pick in the 5th round, the Packers took defensive lineman TJ Slaton from Florida. Slaton is another departure from the Packers’ usual draft pick. First, he is 330. The Packers do not usually draft linemen that big. The last time they drafted one that big was BJ Raji in 2009. Slaton also right now is more of a run-stuffing nose tackle. They do not usually draft those types of guys. They either draft pass rusher types like Kingsley Keke or guys who can do both like Kenny Clark.

Slaton does have some upside in that he could develop his pass-rushing skills. But even if he doesn’t they at least have a guy who can come in and take 10-20 snaps a game during obvious run downs. Due to his subpar agility scores and his lack of playing agility his upside as a pass rusher is not high. They took him to fill that role because they have had trouble defending the run. So again they took another guy who has a high floor who can fill a specific role as a rookie.

Pick #178:

The second pick in the 5th was Shemar Jean-Charles a corner out of Appalachian State. Shemar again is another pick that didn’t fit the front office’s usual defensive back pick. First, let’s start with his size. He is 5’10 /8ths below their 5’10 ½ threshold. He also only weighs 184 pounds. The Packers like their corners bigger. They like them bigger so they can play physical with receivers late in the season when it gets cold in December and January. Jean-Charles did not test out well at his pro day. He scored a RAS of 4.27. The last time they drafted a corner with that low of a score was Quinten Rollins in 2015 who had a score of 4.71. Going back to 1999 they have not drafted a defensive back with a score below Rollins 4.71.

Going into even more detail is his agility scores were bad. Jean-Charles 3 cone score of 7.15 was the slowest out of any draft pick since Tyrone Culver in 2006. All that adds up to a player with minimal upside. Which again historically is not something the Packers do. Now he was drafted to fit a specific role. SJC was a very good special teams’ player at Appalachian State. The Packers needed help on special teams and that is why he was drafted. Watching him in preseason you can see his subpar athleticism in coverage. The Packers have switched him to the slot. At Appalachian State, he exclusively played on the outside so there is a little bit of a learning curve. Even still his upside is at best a decent nickel back in a few years. But for this season he will only play special teams outside of some injuries happening.

6th and 7th round picks:

When it comes to the 6th and 7th rounds though those picks are just the team taking the best available player on the team’s board. Even with that being said Isaiah McDuffie was drafted for a specific role. Similar to Shemar Jean-Charles. He was drafted for his ability to help out the underperforming special teams group. McDuffie is an undersized speedy linebacker. Going back to 1994 the Packers have not drafted a linebacker as light as him. McDuffie lacks size and strength and may never be able to be anything more than a sub-package linebacker and special teamer. But again he was drafted to fill that specific role, not the usual Packers MO of drafting a player with upside who could grow into something much more.

Pick #214:

With the Cole Van Lanen pick though. That pick was classic Packers. Van Lanen was a college left tackle who the Packers have moved to guard and right tackle. He had a good pro day. He only started a total of 19 games at Wisconsin so there is some untapped potential there he could develop into a starter down the line or he could end up as a career journeyman.

Pick #256:

With the Packers’ final pick Kylin Hill, he fit with this year’s drafts strategy. To get a guy who can fill a specific role this year. Hill was drafted to be the team’s 3rd down back. Hill is filling in the Jamaal Williams role in other words. He can carry it, he can play in the passing game, and he can pass block. He is a little more dynamic than Williams though.

Final Thoughts:

Out of 9 picks, 7 were drafted to fill a specific role this season and possibly beyond. Players who may not have the high athletic upside of the Packers’ usual drafts, but guys who the front office and coaches knew could come in right away as rookies and fill that role. The reason is they needed to find guys to fill those specific positions. Due to either a departed free agent (see: Corey Linsley, or Jamaal Williams), a weakness in a position group (Special Teams), or due to injury (Bahktiari being out and Jenkins sliding out to left tackle). This is another example of this team being all in for this season.

Final Packers 53 man roster prediction

I am writing this on Sunday August 29th. The final cut down date is Tuesday, August 31st. This will be my final prediction for the Packers 53 man roster. If someone gets cut or put on IR prior to Tuesday I will update it.

You can find my previous prediction here: https://atbnetwork.com/2021/08/07/green-bay-packers-53-man-roster-prediction/

Quarterbacks:(2)

Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love

I feel this is pretty self explanatory. Everyone understood this was going to be their quarterback group going into the season. Nothing in preseason has changed that.

Running back:(3)

Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Kylin Hill

I feel this group is kind of the same as the quarterbacks. Most knew this was going to be the group once word of how well Hill was doing in camp came out. The only real question was would Taylor or Williams push enough to either beat out Hill or force the Packers to keep four. That did not happen. I think Taylor has a good shot at the practice squad though.

Tight ends:(4)

Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney

Similar to the quarterback group. This group has been set most of camp. None of the bubble guys did anything to push the top four guys. Also, Sternberger is suspended the first two games of the season. He has been pretty iffy this camp. The Packers could cut him when he comes off the suspension list.

Wide receivers:(6)

Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Malik Taylor

Through the off season the question was would the Packers keep five or six receivers? We all knew the top five were locks. But once camp started and some of the other guys started flashing the questions came. Most of camp it was a battle between Taylor and Funchess. Then after the first pre season game a lot of fans gave it to Funchess. I didn’t see the fit because he didn’t play special teams. Once Funchess was put on IR then release it was game over. Taylor had locked up the #6 spot. Begelton put up a fight at the end, but not enough to over take Taylor.

Offensive line:(10)

David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner, Jon Runyan, Ben Braden, Royce Newman, Yosh Nijman, Dennis Kelly

We know at least seven guys are locks. Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Myers, Patrick, Turner, Runyan and Newman are all locks for the roster. Newman looks like he has won one of the starting guard spots. The other one is between Patrick and Runyan. Patrick looks to have a slight lead on Runyan. I would not be surprised if Runyan did get a few snaps here and there during the early games before Bakhtiari comes back. Braden has shown versatility in playing both guard and right tackle so I think that gives him a spot. While he has had some hick ups Nijman has played well overall and he would probably be the #3 left tackle, but he has also gotten snaps on the right side. There is a chance they keep Kelly over him and keep Van Lanen for his versatility and upside.

Defensive line:(5)

Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, Jack Heflin, TJ Slaton

Through most of the offseason and camp it was thought that the five were locked in with Clark, Lowry, Keke, Slaton, and Lancaster. But Lancaster has been out played by Heflin. Heflin is a similar type player, but he seems to be a touch better athlete. He can also play more outside. Lancaster was best as a back up nose. With Slaton being the back up nose now there was no need for Lancaster to play that spot. When he didn’t play at nose tackle he didn’t play as well. Heflin is probably the same player right now but three years younger and cheaper.

Edge:(5)

Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Chauncey Rivers, Tipa Galeai

Obviously the top three were locks. The fight was going to be for the #4 spot and #5 spot if they decided to keep one. There is a chance they keep a 5th if Z’s injury lingers into the season. I am keeping five just in case Z’s back flares up and Tipa can be a good special teams player. Rivers has come in a brought a spark as a rusher and played special teams as well. According to the outside linebacker coach special teams play was going to be important to choosing who gets the #4 spot. Garvin and Scott could both end up on the practice squad. Both showed flashes.

Linebackers:(4)

Krys Barnes, De’Vondre Campbell, Ty Summers, Oren Burks

The release of Kamal Martin took us all by surprise. It was looking like they would keep five inside linebackers with him. With him gone though and both Burks and Summers already being good special teams players. There doesn’t seem to be a need to keep a 5th just to do what they already do. Burks has shown some improvements in preseason from scrimmage. I don’t think he will ever be confused with Ray Lewis or anything like that but coming into camp he was looking like a cut candidate. Summers also showed some improvements as a leader and communicator.

Cornerbacks:(6)

Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Chandon Sullivan, Eric Stokes, Shemar Jean-Charles, Kabion Ento

This is another group that was set for the most part entering camp. The top five were set outside of some sort of freak injury or something like that. The main battle was for the #6 corner spot. Ento has kind of won it by default. The only other competition he has had was Jackson who was shipped off for Yiadom, but Yiadom has not done any thing in camp or preseason to beat him out. Ento did struggle a little against the Bills. Yiadom got beat a number of times. I don’t see any other corners on the roster worth a practice squad spot.

Safties:(5)

Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Henry Black, Vernon Scott, Christian Uphoff

With this group the interesting battle was for the 5th and or possibly 6th spot. Which is very unusual keeping 6 safeties. Also it does not make sense keeping a 6th safety. The top three guys are locked in. Black played a lot in the dime packages and looks to be the #3 safety. Scott is injured but he has shown enough to keep him around. The main battle was between Uphoff and Gaines. Both had their moments. Gaines had a good game against the Texans, then Uphoff had a good game against the Jets. They both did not have good games against the Bills. So now it comes down to who fits what they need the best.

Uphoff is more of a unfinished product since he did not play in 2020 due to COVID. Uphoff is probably more of a strong safety while Gaines is more of a free and he can line up in the slot as well. Gaines issue however is a bad one. He has had problems tackling, and if you are playing mostly special teams…thats an issue. Uphoff for the most part has tackled well. Thats why he edges out Gaines.

Specialists:(3)

Mason Crosby, TBD, TBD

It was looking like it was going to be the same crew early on in camp. JK shanked that 21 punt and it just feels like his days in Green Bay are numbered. He is still too inconsistent for a guy going into his 4th season. The Packers punter is on someone else’s roster right now. As for the long snapper Bradley has also been inconsistent. Just the other day in practice he had three bad snaps. A long snapper can not have more than maybe one bad snap a season. As with JK the Packers long snapper is on another teams roster as well. Gutey may pick up one or the other on the waiver wire or even trade for one.

Green Bay Packers 53-man roster prediction

This is my first roster prediction a week into camp. You can find the Packers 90 man roster here:https://www.packers.com/team/players-roster/ I will put up a second one at the end of camp right before cut down date. Lets get to it!

Quarterbacks-(2)

Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love

Kurt Benkert has become a cult hero among Packers fans. We all wish they would keep it. I just don’t see it happening though. He is very much a practice squad candidate. Rodgers and Love are self explanatory. I don’t think I need to say much beyond that.

Running backs-(4)

Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Kylin Hill, Patrick Taylor

I went with four because I do not think Hill or Taylor would make it through waivers. Also with Sternberger being suspended the first couple games they could hang on to an extra player and then hope to sneak him onto the practice squad a couple weeks later. Jones an Dillon will be running backs #1 and #2. They will see the majority of carries. Jones does have an injury history so we will probably see the #3 back get some carries at some point.

Tight End/Hback-(4)

Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney

With Sternberger being suspended the first two games this is a pretty easy call. Tonyan is the lead dog. He is a do it all tight end. Lewis is your blocker. Deguara and Dafney are your versatile Hbacks. Dafney has also shown some special teams prowess. Once Sternberger comes off the suspended list it will be interesting to see what the Packers decide to do.

Wide Receivers-(6)

Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Juwann Winfree

Before the Cobb trade I would have said the top five were probably locked in and they were not going to keep six. Now with Cobb and the camp that Winfree is having and his ability to play special teams I see them keeping him around for special teams duties and of course if there is an injury or two he could slide in and play some offense. I see them keeping him over EQ and Funchess exactly because of his ability to play special teams which is what the #6 receiver would have to be able to do. Since none of the top five receivers play special teams. Outside of kick and punt return with Rodgers and Cobb.

Offensive Line-(9)

David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner, Jon Runyan Jr, Dennis Kelly, Ben Braden, Royce Newman

What they do with Bakhtiari and the rest of the group will be interesting. Do they put him on PUP? and how many linemen do they keep? 8? 9? 10? I feel they will roll with Bakhtiari on the initial 53 man roster, then move him to the IR so he will miss the first three games of the season. With him on the IR for three weeks I wouldn’t be surprised if they resigned Yosh Nijman, or a Cole Van Lanen for those three weeks.

Jenkins has been great so far in camp at left tackle. Myers has taken every snap at center with the 1st team so far. He’s a lock right now for the starting center. There has been talk about Patrick getting cut or traded because he would save money on the cap. I can’t see it happening. With a rookie at center they need his versatility and veteran experience he can impart on Myers. Turner has that four position ability. His best position is right tackle though where I think he will spend the whole season. Runyan Jr will probably start the season as the left guard until Bakhtiari gets back. Kelly will be the Packers swing tackle. Braden and Newman will provide guard/tackle depth.

Defensive Line-(5)

Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster, TJ Slaton

I feel like this group is pretty much set. Clark is one of the better defensive linemen in the league. Keke should be the #2 guy next to him, but it will probably be Lowry with Keke being the #3 guy. Lancaster and Slaton can both play the nose. Slaton should allow Clark to get off the nose a little bit more and get some 1 on 1 match ups.

Edge defenders-(5)

Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai

I feel the group was pretty set until Ramsey’s injury. Since none of the Packers top three edge rushers play special teams and last years 7th round pick Garvin played very minimal special teams the Packers need someone who can play special teams. Galeai is probably the best special teamer left after Ramsey’s injury. The Smith bros and Gary will take up the vast majority of snaps on the edge this season.

Linebacker-(4)

Krys Barnes, De’Vondre Campbell, Kamal Martin, Ty Summers

So far in camp it has been Barnes and Campbell as the top two. Martin has the talent to start, he just needs development. Summers has been a special teams ace and has shown some improvements on defense. Burks is around the same level of special teams player that Summers is, but Summers is better from scrimmage and is cheaper. McDuffie has missed all of camp so far on the NFI list. I feel he either gets better and gets in at the end of camp and ends up on the practice squad, or his injury lingers and he ends up on the IR.

Cornerbacks-(6)

Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Eric Stokes, Shemar Jean-Charles, Chandon Sullivan, Kabion Ento

Jaire is Jaire, not much needs to be said there. Same with King, he is who he is. He is still probably the 2nd best corner on the roster right now. Stokes has struggled in camp which was expected. He never played corner until he got to college and he was only a two year starter at that. So he will need time. Sullivan has been the Nickel all through out camp, outside of a few snaps Jean-Charles has taken. Sullivan has look good in camp so far. I do not see him relinquishing the nickel job. Jean-Charles should see most of his time on special teams. Ento has flashed this camp and the last two training camps as well. Hopefully he can stay healthy. Hollman and Samuels will be his main competition for the last spot.

Safties-(5)

Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos, Henry Black, Vernon Scott, Will Redmond

Savage and Amos should continue to be one of the better starting safeties in the league. Savages game really took off once they moved him closer to the line and occasionally played him in the slot. I expect that to continue. That leaves who will be the 3rd safety? When Savage is playing near the line or in the slot I expect it to be Redmond. He is the only back up capable of playing free safety. He also is a good special teams player. Although the Packers could slide Amos over to free and bring in either Black or Scott and put them at strong. So far in camp Black has been ahead of Scott. He has been the safety in their big nickel package.

Special Teams-(3)

JK Scott, Mason Crosby, Hunter Bradley

Not much to say here. The Packers cut Bradley’s competition, so he is a lock there. Preseason will bear out the punter job, but I just don’t see Winslow beating out Scott. JK will be on a short leash though. Crosby is Crosby. No way in hell Molson would be able to beat him out. Molson wasn’t even that good of a college kicker. The Packers will probably keep a punter on the practice squad though.

There you have it. My 53 man roster prediction. I think that leaves the Packers with a pretty talented and deep roster. There will be some guys that are cut that won’t make it through waivers.

Can Miami be fine without Xavien Howard?

There has been a trend over the past several seasons among NFL playoff teams to spend significant resources on their secondary.

There has been a trend over the past several seasons among NFL playoff teams to spend significant resources on their secondary.

Having at least a solid secondary in the pass centric modern game has become a necessity if you want to give your defense a fighting chance.

The top 3-4 defenses in the league spent the most on their defensive back groups at an average of 18.63 percent. This group had the largest disparity in spending between the top and bottom defenses with a 5.18 percent difference.

Miami runs a “hybrid” defense that consists of 3-4 and 4-3 base; however, with Miami’s positional alignments and roster notes for simple terms it is a 3-4 defense.

All the teams that have made it or won in the playoffs have put copious amounts of money into the secondary. Having a good to great secondary players have been a staple in elite defenses. An argument can be made that spending money on good players in the secondary leads to wins.

Rough estimates from Spotrac detail the money spent on starters:

Super Bowl WinnersSecondary Salary
New England (2019)$38 Million
New England (2017)$16 Million*
Denver (2016)$20.6 Million
Seattle (2014)$15,5 Million*
Baltimore (2013)$14 Million*
*Denotes majority of players on rookie deals

The Salary cap jumped significantly in 2014

The 2019 Patriots Super Bowl winning team had DPOY Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, JC Jackson, and Jonathon Jones. These players contributed to the league leading #1 Defense manned by Bill Belicheck and Brian Flores.

The 2017 Patriot’s secondary consisted of Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty lead a 5th ranked defense to a Super bowl title. With other significant role players on their rookie contracts.

The Legendary Legion of Boom had all of their Corners, Sherman, Browner and Maxwell on rookie deals; while Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor took most of the salary cap room with their contracts en route to a stunning 35 point Super bowl win.

In a league run by QBs, the guys you pay to stop them are one of the most important position groups on the field.

The secondary.

In 2020 Miami spent roughly $44 million for their starters-rightly so winning games through crucial turnovers and coverage sacks-while dialing the blitz 40% of the time.

The top 4 teams secondary spending, excluding Miami goes like this:

2020 BAL-$41.3 Mill

2020 PIT-$25 Mill

2020 ARI- $23 Mill

Now lets take a look at the 2020 Playoff teams secondary spending:

2020 Playoff Teams Secondary Spending (in cap)
BAL $41.3 Million
BUF $36.9 Million
TENN $35.9 Million
PITT $29.8 Million
KC $29.4 Million
CHI $29.1 Million
WAS $29.1 Million
CLE* $26.8 Million
GB* $24.5 Million
NO $24.5 Million
SEA $22 Million
LAR $18.3 Million
TB* $10 Million
* Denotes majority of players on rookie deals

Most if not all of these playoff teams have put copious amount of money into their top 1 to 2 defensive backs to lock down one side, with complimentary players that can handle passes thrown their way. The investment also includes DB’s from the draft, low cost pickups and UDFA signings.

Regardless of whether or not Xavien Howard stays with Miami, they have put the resources into the position to have a good secondary. With current draftees in Noah Igbinoghene, Brandon Jones, Jevon Holland, UDFA Signing of Needham Trill Williams and efficient veteran deal for McCourty and Rowe, the Dolphins are fine depth wise as all players are versatile.

While there are some unknowns in the secondary, the Dolphins coaching staff has put players in position to succeed. The biggest impact is coaching ability to develop players and help them win thier matchups, which the aforementioned teams also did. Head Coach Brian Flores and DB’s Coach Gerald Alexander are highly touted for these skills.

Miami’s ceiling is much higher with Howard’s playmaking ability at corner, but it shouldn’t make or break their season.

Brian Flores wants Xavien Howard in his defense, I think the Dolphins organization will make something work, especially since Tua Tagovailoa is still on his rookie deal.

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