As the beginning of the 2020 season gets closer and closer, fans are getting more and more look-ins of their favorite teams and players at their practices. For Miami Dolphins fans, they should be eager to see how the safety position is shaking up. Miami added guys in free agency, the 2020 NFL Draft and claimed players off waivers following both.
Head coach Brian Flores has six safeties that do not have the best statistics on paper, but rather, has guys looking to transform into the position in the upcoming years.
Free Safety Comes Down to Three Players
For free safety, there is a three-player-battle between captain Bobby McCain, Kavon Frazier and Brandon Jones. Each player possesses abilities and experience that could be helpful to the Dolphins organization.
McCain is a veteran that has been found to be a reliable centerpiece to the Dolphins defense. McCain however has not been able to start as many games and complete full seasons since entering the league in 2015.
His best season came in 2018 where he was able to start in 13 out of 14 games for the Dolphins. He racked up 50 solo and 11 assisted tackles.
Another benefit of McCain’s is his ability to switch positions and adapt his game to what his team needs. While he’ll likely make the team as a safety, he could have a more dominant season playing multiple positions, assuming he stays healthy.
Frazier is another player that has been in the league for a few years but has not had the opportunity to get a lot of playing time. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2016 where he served more of a backup role for his team at the time.
Frazier has only started in two games throughout his entire career, with his best season coming in 2017 where he racked up 33 combined tackles (23 solo). Coming to a new and young team, Frazier will need to put the work in in order to stand out to Flores and his defensive staff.
Jones is another safety to look out for. He is another guy that played defensive back during his college years at the University of Texas, and Miami drafted him this year during the draft.
He went from producing 11 solo tackles and four assisted tackles during his freshman year to producing 64 solo tackles and 22 assisted during his senior year. Another pair of fresh legs that can come in and make a difference in terms of athleticism and youth, Jones will have to prove his worth in the NFL. However, his college progression is promising and shouldn’t be too tall of a task.
Strong Safety Comes Down to Three Players
Since the start of training camp there is a three- way battle for starting strong safety. Eric Rowe, Clayton Fejedelem and Jeremiah Dinson are trying to either hold down the position or come in and show that they have the skills and size needed to be the starting strong safety.
Coming over from New England, Rowe was found to be a versatile safety and corner combination athlete last season in a rocky defense. He showed good lateral quickness and can compete for the ball with receivers effectively. He’s able to reroute a receiver’s release in a cover-2 alignment, something the Dolphins will likely use again this season.
Rowe has quick feet, good leaping ability, good arm length and good size overall going for him. While that helps his argument for staying the starting safety, he will however be in need of skill development to remain starting.
Fejedelem signed in free agency after playing with the Cincinnati Bengals. He is known for being a smart and instinctive football player that can be found all over the field. Fejedelem has shown that he can find ways to find where the ball is going and go up for interceptions.
For a free and strong safety, Fejedelem possesses both good size and speed. He can get through traffic on the field and get involved in defensive plays. To be an effective safety he’ll need to be able to have a good initial read and following reaction.
Dinson is a rookie out of the University of Auburn who will fill a position that he did not play in college. He was a defensive back competing in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) that grew during his four year collegiate career. Dinson went from being a back having nine solo tackles and six assisted as a freshman, to a guy that had 57 solo tackles and 31 assisted during his senior year.
He was found to be able to cover most tight ends and slots on the field, something the Dolphins desperately need to improve. He also does not get beat up deep in the field and has ball skills at catch point, even if he still needs to work on WR battles.
Miami Needs Sure-Answers in Quick Rebuild
Miami has not been known to be a strong defensive team as of late, but Flores has been looking for pieces that can help them win more games and become a playoff contender. The safeties that sit on the Dolphins roster either have experience in the league and not enough playing time or do not have any experience at all. Adaptability will be the name of the game for the Dolphin safeties in 2020 when the team is trying to make a statement on a quick turnaround.
Editor’s Note: Jeremiah Dinson does not have a profile yet on profootballreference.com, the website FPC Dolphins uses to highlight players.