Miami Dolphins

Addition of Brice McCain shows Dolphins OK with smaller cornerbacks

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Brice McCain returns an intercepted pass 22 yards for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Brice McCain returns an intercepted pass 22 yards for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. AP

The Dolphins have a template when it comes to cornerbacks.

And it’s not lifted from the Seattle Seahawks’ blueprint.

Though the Seahawks have built the league’s best secondary with size, the Dolphins have no problem going small.

Enter diminutive defensive back Brice McCain, who spoke with reporters Thursday, less than 24 hours after signing a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Dolphins.

McCain’s measurables: 5-foot-9, 187 pounds.

“I know, by my size, I’ve got to be able jump, run fast,” said McCain, who started nine games for the Steelers last year, with three interceptions. “I think I’m physical. I press well. I think I play bigger than I am.

“Not everybody has this mentality,” added McCain, who was the league’s No. 2 slot corner in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus. “Either you have it or you don’t have it. I’m a very physical corner. I think my other attributes make up for my size.”

Sounds a lot like Brent Grimes, who hasn’t let his height — 5-10 — stop him from becoming one of the best corners in the league.

The Dolphins, who on Thursday re-signed reserve defensive back T.J. Heath, don’t have a single true cornerback taller than six feet. Walt Aikens is 6-1, but he’s projected more as a safety than a corner.

An additional window in the Dolphins’ soul when it comes to the defensive backfield: They have expressed interest in Robert McClain, another smallish corner who played the past three seasons for the Falcons. However, the two sides do not have a visit set up at this time.

McClain and McCain would seem to have the same skill set; neither was a blue-chip prospect coming out of college. McClain was a sixth-round pick of the Panthers; the Texans took McCain in the seventh round.

McClain appeared in all 16 games for the Falcons last year, starting six. Quarterbacks completed 67.1 percent of their passes against him last year, although he gave up only two touchdowns.

All this activity suggests the Dolphins likely will move on from Jimmy Wilson, who was the team’s nickel corner the past two years. It is also probably a sign the Dolphins are unsure about the availability of Will Davis, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in November.

The biggest question for the Dolphins: What to do at tight end? With Charles Clay mulling his options, the Dolphins brought in former Browns tight end Jordan Cameron for a visit Thursday. Cameron sustained three concussions in the past two years, so his medical examination is probably as important as any other part of his visit.

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