Miami Dolphins

‘Extraordinary’ draft depth at a position of Dolphins need, Kiper says

Colorado defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon runs a drill at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.
Colorado defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon runs a drill at the NFL Scouting Combine last month. AP

The secret’s out:

The Dolphins want to add another cornerback in the draft.

They telegraphed that mindset Tuesday when they brought UCF’s Shaq Griffin in for a visit.

It shouldn’t be a surprise. Byron Maxwell is due to make $10 million in 2018. The jury’s still out on Xavien Howard and Tony Lippett.

Will they take one in the first round? Can never rule it out, but they seem more likely to select a front-seven defender — particularly an edge rusher.

Instead, the mid to late rounds seem more likely for corner, which should work out just fine. ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper believes this draft could go “30, 35 deep in terms of corners that could play in this league this year.”

Kiper has nearly 20 defensive backs with grades in the first two rounds.

“This is an extraordinary year, because of depth,” Kiper said during a conference call with NFL sportswriters Wednesday.

Kiper added: “I think the defense is going to dictate a lot about the early portion of Round 1, and really all the way through. There are some really good defensive players. As I said, the pass rushers, the combo guys, the front seven guys, I think the safeties and cornerback spot are really good. You talk about corner. I think it goes really deep.”

Want names?

Kiper had plenty of names when asked about corners Wednesday:

“Ahkello Witherspoon, the cornerback from Colorado, had a really good year. Brendan Langley, formerly of Georgia, then of Lamar, showed he has ability to be maybe a second or third-round pick. Rasul Douglas of West Virginia, Cam Sutton of Tennessee. Damontae Kazee of San Diego State could be a nickel corner like Tavon Young was for the Ravens this year as a fourth-round pick. I think that's about where you'd expect Kazee to come off the board. Ashton Lampkin is a talent out of Oklahoma State.”

Want more? He was just getting started.

“Shaq Griffin at Central Florida, I thought played well. Didn't play great then tested off the chart. He kind of sent everybody back to the drawing board after his great workout, as did Jalen Myrick at Minnesota. Ezra Robinson of Michigan State then Tennessee State is an interesting kid. A nickel corner Corn Elder out of Miami of Florida. Nate Hairston I think is underrated out of Temple.”

Kiper believes six corners would have gone in the first round if Sidney Jones hadn’t torn his left Achilles tendon during the University of Washington’s pro day.

“You're pretty much going to see five in first,” Kiper added. “You're going to have a ton of second-round corners and third-round corners. I didn't mention Desmond King at Iowa, Quincy Wilson at Florida at Adoree' Jackson at USC and Chidobe Awuzie from Colorado who are all right now second-round possibilities.”

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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