5 defensive players for Dolphins to keep an eye on during Senior Bowl

The Dolphins clearly need help on defense as its inability to cover opposing tight ends is well chronicled. Miami is also thin at cornerback and they will look to the offseason to find players to help them improve their chances on passing downs.

Here are five players the Dolphins should take a look at during the Senior Bowl to improve its secondary:

Armani Watts, FS, Texas A&M

The Dolphins like having safeties that are interchangeable but Watts is different in the sense that he’s a true center fielding free safety, which can’t be said for Reshad Jones or T.J. McDonald. Watts can cover in the slot when asked to do so, but the best part of his game is his ability to get off of the hash marks and making a play on the football. Watts was widely regarded as the best player on Texas A&M’s defense last year and his 82 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles did not disappoint. If the Dolphins want a safety with great range, they should look no further than Watts.

Marcus Allen, FS, Penn State

At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, Allen is a force in the run game. He’s able to get around would-be blockers with his quickness and tackle running backs in the hole. Allen also has a good feel for the passing game, and his versatility earned him high praise from Penn State co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks. “I’ve had guys his size but maybe weren’t quite as athletic. Or I’ve had guys who were smaller and a little faster,” Banks said. “But when you start talking about an overall combo guy, I don’t if I’ve had a guy with that type of skill-set and that type of size. He can do it all. You can drop him in the box. He can play as a linebacker, or you can play him on the hash as a regular safety. You can put him in coverage, too. “So he has a unique skill-set for a guy his size that makes him extremely valuable.”

 

Kyzir White, SS, West Virginia University

Unlike his big brother Kevin White who was taken with the No. 7 pick of the 2015 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, Kyzir landed on the other side of the football because of his hitting ability. At 6-foot 2, 218, pounds, White can play in the box but he also holds up extremely well in coverage. He’s played linebacker, safety and nickel back for the Mountaineers and his versatility would certainly serve a NFL defense well. At 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, Deone Bucannon is a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals. White has the physicality and the athleticism to bring a similar style of play to Miami.

 

Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan

One of the more dynamic playmakers in the draft is Darius Phillips. Phillips began his collegiate career as a receiver and totaled 479 yards and two touchdowns on 32 receptions as a redshirt sophomore. He transitioned to the defensive side of the ball as a sophomore and has been making his presence felt as a cornerback and a kickoff returner ever since. He picked off two passes at No. 1 ranked Ohio State in 2016 and earned MAC special teams player of the year honors the last two seasons. Phillips does a great job of locating the ball and he lets his natural instincts as a receiver take over, particularly when defending vertical routes. The Dolphins might have a penchant for larger cornerbacks, but Walker’s athleticism and ability to make plays on the ball are intriguing and would benefit Miami.

 

JaMarcus King, CB, South Carolina

With Tony Lippett making a comeback from a torn Achilles, Miami should take a look at 6-foot-2 cornerback, JaMarcus King out of South Carolina. King is a long corner who has the requisite footwork to mirror receivers in off coverage if necessary. He also has the presence of mind to turn and find the football when it’s in flight. King logged a team-high 12 pass breakups and picked off two passes on the season. While cornerback isn’t high on the priority list for Miami, they are thin at the position and are a couple of injuries away from starting players like second-year cornerback Torry McTyer. Adding a cornerback like King who fits the Dolphins philosophy at cornerback would bolster the team’s par talent in the secondary.

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Brandon Howard joined the Sports Talk Florida team to cover the Miami Dolphins in April 2017 and will work diligently to provide daily Dolphins content and give accurate analysis of the roster, coaching and front office. Last season, Howard was the curator of content for Miami Dolphins Wire/ USA Today while aggregating high school sports results in Broward and Palm Beach counties for the Sun Sentinel. Prior to moving to South Florida Howard developed NFL content for Pro Player Insiders while covering the Cleveland Browns from 2014-2015. Howard, a Columbus, Ohio native graduated from West Virginia in 2004 in Athletic Coaching and Education. He also was a scholarship track and field athlete and walk-on football player. Howard was the 2003 Big East Long and IC4A long jump Champion and was a provisional national qualifier in the event. He also maintained his status as a member of the Athletic Director Academic Honor Roll during his time as a Mountaineer.