Kader Kohou an Unexpected Star in Dolphins Win

The Dolphins got an unexpected contribution from an unlikely source in undrafted free agent corner Kader Kohou

Miami Dolphins cornerback Kader Kohou
Photo Credit: Doug Murray/AP Photo

There’s a common turn-of-phrase in NFL draft scouting communities: “If you can ball, the NFL will find you.” It doesn’t matter where you come from, whether you’re from a traditional powerhouse like Ohio State, or from a small, Division II school like Texas A&M-Commerce. All that matters is if you can play football. Miami Dolphins cornerback Kader Kohou showed the team he could play all through training camp. He showed the world he could play on Sunday.

Kohou came to the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent after the 2022 NFL draft, and many thought he was unlikely to even make the team. Long odds have never been something that Kohou has been afraid of, however. His entire life, from the beginnings in Ivory Coast, he’s been the underdog. And he’s always exceeded expectations.

Miami came into the season opener against the New England Patriots in a bit of a pickle at the cornerback position. The Dolphins had one side of the field locked down with perennial All-Pro Xavien Howard. But with Byron Jones on the PUP list to start the season, there were questions as to how the rest of the position would perform.

Kohou may not have started the game, but he may have given the coaching staff something to think about going forward when his opportunity finally did come. Though Kohou only saw 18 snaps on Sunday, he made the most of his time on the field. At the end of the day, Kohou made three tackles, had one pass breakup, and forced a fumble. Kohou was all over the field and was a force to be reckoned with.

While the Kader Kohou stat line may not seem all that impressive, it’s more about how – and when – Kohou made those plays for the Dolphins defense. Kohou consistently flashed with his effort on Sunday, as evidenced by his tackle-for-loss. Kohou made a great read on the play. Then he trusted his instincts, moved like he was shot out of a cannon, and made a solid tackle on a much bigger running back.

In the fourth quarter, Kohou once again showed that he has what it takes to step up in big situations. Tasked with covering a much bigger Hunter Henry, Kohou stuck to his man down the field and put himself in great position to make a play. And make a play he did! Kohou was able to leap with Henry and get his hand on the ball to knock it away, making a Patriots victory seem all but impossible at that point.

Kohou showed great fundamentals and instincts on those plays, but it was his late-game heroics that may have earned him more playing time for the Dolphins in the future. Late in the game, as the Patriots were trying desperately to mount a comeback, quarterback Mac Jones hit wide receiver Nelson Agholor over the middle. Kohou was in the right place at the right time to make a play, and he did so in spectacular fashion.

Kohou came up and made a solid hit on Agholor, jarring the ball free. The play was ruled a fumble, and the recovery was made by last year’s star rooke Jaelan Phillips. That fumble all but sealed yet another Dolphins home victory over the Patriots.

Byron Jones will be on the PUP list until at least Week 4. Nik Needham is a solid cornerback, but plays better from the slot position. While a bit undersized for an outside corner at just 5’10” and 195 pounds, Kader Kohou may have just earned himself a shot at some significant playing time for the Dolphins in the future. Maybe even a starting shot opposite Howard.

Miami Dolphins Rookies: Making the Most of Their Assets in 2022

The Miami Dolphins only had four picks in this past draft, but their rookies are impressive and ready to make an impact in 2022 and beyond.

Skylar Thompson - 2022 Dolphins rookie QB
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Miami, just like the rest of the NFL, has cut their rosters down to 53 players. Every team has surprises across the board, but perhaps none are as pleasant as the Miami Dolphins seeing several late round and undrafted rookies make the team in 2022.

As the roster stands, Miami has five rookies on their 2022 roster. Those include Channing Tindall, Erik Ezukanma, Skylar Thompson, Tanner Conner and Kader Kohou. As a team that only made four selections in the 2022 NFL draft and is looking to compete, it’s impressive that they view these five players, including two UDFAs, as guys who can contribute to winning football.

Each player presents an interesting case and path to production both, today and in the future. It’s only right to show how impressive they’ve been.

Miami Dolphins 2022 Rookie Class

Channing Tindall

The first of the Miami Dolphins rookies selected in 2022 came by way of Georgia, in the form of linebacker Channing Tindall. The third rounder was lauded for his speed, athleticism, and ability to make stops in the open field. Miami was in desperate need of another coverage linebacker, so there was a natural fit.

Channing Tindall has impressive speed.

Since arriving on the team, it’s been a quiet offseason for Tindall. We haven’t heard about many big plays in training camp, or seen them in preseason, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time. His athletic profile alone makes him potentially dangerous down the stretch, and as he gains more knowledge of the playbook and his responsibilities, he has the potential to make an impact.

Erik Ezukanma

After taking Tindall in the third, Miami went to the offensive side of the ball in the fourth, selecting Texas Tech wide receiver Erik Ezukanma. Miami had already spent significant draft capital at the position, signing Cedrick Wilson, and more notably, trading for Tyreek Hill. However, Ezukanma clearly brought a skill set the team lacked. His combination of excellent ball tracking in one-on-one situations and ability after the catch made him a perfect fit for Mike McDaniel’s offense, which thrives on getting players who strive in YAC scenarios.

Erik Ezukanma was impressive in training camp.

That fit has demonstrated itself time and time again throughout camp and the preseason, along with a veteran-like ability to sit down in the soft spot of zone coverage. Day after day in camp, “Eazy-E” was listed as one of the top performers, and even got some run with the starters. He has a skill set unique to not only this team, but most of the league. Thus, there is a clear path to playing time and overall contribution for Ezukanma.

Skylar Thompson

Up next is the most surprising — and impressive storyline — of them all. With one of Miami’s two picks in the seventh round, they decided to take a flier on a quarterback. While many disagreed with the pick, it has been Kansas State signal-caller Skylar Thompson who has shown, more than just about anyone else, why he deserves a spot on the roster.

Thompson had his flashes in camp, showing off his deep ball accuracy and ability to read the field. However, especially in the last game of the preseason, he truly showed that he fits the “gamer” label. Snap after snap, throw after throw, Thompson was getting through his progressions, showing above-average mobility, and, most impressively, showing top-notch deep ball accuracy.

Skylar Thompson has impressive deep ball accuracy.

When Mike McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier discuss Thompson, it’s clear that they feel like they struck gold. With his performances throughout the last month, it was clear that he would’ve been claimed of waivers. In making this roster, he has already exceeded that seventh round value.

Tanner Conner

Following the draft, Miami made it clear that they weren’t done, securing several top-end undrafted free agents. One of these was former Idaho State receiver Tanner Conner.

Conner is the most athletically gifted of the bunch, coming in at 6’3″ and running a 4.37 second 40-yard dash. However, as with any undrafted free agent, there were some questions with his game. In particular, if he could play receiver in the NFL. While physically imposing, he lacked refined route running skills and wasn’t proficient in attacking or high-pointing the football. However, Mike McDaniel had a plan for him, which involved a change of position.

Tanner Conner made the transition to a tight end and fullback role.

Tanner Conner has made the transition to tight end, also taking on the h-back role at times. This move, which perfectly embodied his potential as well as his current skill set, resulted in a newfound ceiling in his game.

Conner made several plays in training camp, and was a clear contributor in the preseason. Thus, Miami felt it was imperative that they keep him on the roster this upcoming season. Chris Grier even mentioned that other teams called to check on his status.

While this move is primarily for the future, Conner was able to come in, change positions, and make the roster all in a matter of months. An extremely impressive feat. If he continues to impress, there is a clear role for his skill set under this regime.

Kader Kohou

The last of the Miami Dolphins rookies from the 2022 class to make the roster might be the one with the biggest role. As a part of the aforementioned UDFA class, Miami signed Texas A&M-Commerce cornerback Kader Kohou.

In a group that featured Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Nik Needham, and high-end draft picks such as Noah Igbinohgene, Kohou was once thought of as an afterthought. However, with injuries to Jones, Needham, and Trill Williams, Miami’s cornerback room is at its thinnest. Luckily, Kohou has burst onto the scene and been a real contributor throughout this preseason.

Kader Kohou is sticky in man coverage.

His ability to stick in man coverage has been impressive, and perfectly fits a scheme that runs a high percentage of press-man and blitz looks. This will come in handy for Miami’s early games, while they eagerly await the return of Byron Jones.

However, Miami hit on yet another defensive back, and it will be exciting to see how Kohou performs, along with the rest of the Miami Dolphins rookies in 2022.