By now, you all know that the Miami Dolphins decided to bolster their defense by trading for All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey at the beginning of the new league year. All it took to acquire Ramsey was sending a 3rd round pick and tight end, Hunter Long. Adding such a well-known talent usually requires a lot more. Still, between the Los Angeles Rams needing to free up cap space, and Ramsey’s desire to be traded specifically to the Miami Dolphins, it was easy to bargain and get the deal done. It’s easy to see the instant boost Ramsey will bring to the defense, but how will he help the rest of the cornerback room reach their potential?
First, let’s look at the season Jalen Ramsey had that ranked him as the 3rd best cornerback, according to PFF. Ramsey finished with an 86.4 overall grade which consisted of 62 solo tackles, four interceptions, 56 receptions allowed on 86 targets, two forced fumbles, and two sacks. Many say this was a “down year” for Ramsey, and yet it can still be considered in the top tier of cornerback play. Ramsey now joins a defense that already features a Pro Bowler in Xavien Howard, undrafted free agent standout Kader Kohou, a returning Nik Needham, and fan favorite Trill Williams. With Ramsey’s experience, the younger cornerbacks will likely want to work twice as hard to meet the standards that Ramsey and X will set.
Xavien Howard did make the Pro Bowl in 2022, but fans and pundits alike could easily see that he wasn’t himself this past season. With a nagging groin injury, Howard finished with a 58.4 PFF grade based on 37 solo tackles, one interception, and 54 receptions allowed on 80 targets. This is a far cry from Howard’s 2020 season, where he finished with an 87.3 grade and a league-leading ten interceptions. Howard largely benefited from having Byron Jones on the field that season; suffice to say, having Ramsey should help Howard reach this level of play again.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 2, 2023
With the arrival of new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the cornerbacks won’t be left on an island as often as they were in former defensive coordinator Josh Boyer’s blitz-heavy cover 0 scheme. We can also hope that our defensive backs stay healthy this season, as we lost many of our top guys due to injury in 2022 (Byron Jones, Nik Needham, Brandon Jones, Trill Williams).
I believe Kader Kohou might benefit the most, a standout that stepped up due to the injuries plaguing our defensive backfield. Kohou saw 972 defensive snaps, second behind only Xavien Howard at the cornerback position. As an undrafted rookie, Kohou instantly became a fan favorite with his stellar play and hard-nosed attitude on the field. Kohou made his debut as nickel corner but was allowed to play opposite Howard after Nik Needham went down with a torn Achilles in the week six matchup versus the Minnesota Vikings. Kohou and Needham could pick Ramsey’s brain because Ramsey has experience in the slot, and they watch him closely in training camp and practice to become the best versions of themselves.
All in all, this defensive backfield is completely revamped, and each individual can benefit from the experience and the competitiveness that a player of Ramsey’s caliber will bring. Keep an eye out as the Miami Dolphins look to become a shutdown, turnover-forcing defense once again.