THE DAILY TAKE

The Daily Take will be posted every weekday at 3 p.m. and will offer our opinion on a pertinent topic involving the Dolphins. Today we discuss the status of cornerback Jamar Fletcher.

With the exception of Ray Lucas, few Dolphins players took more abuse from fans and the media last season than cornerback Jamar Fletcher.

It's obvious Fletcher had an up-and-down 2002 season, but he wasn't nearly as horrible as a lot of people would have you believe.

Fletcher's biggest problem is that he was a first-round pick and he clearly hasn't played like one yet.

When the Dolphins signed Terrell Buckley a few weeks ago, it was pretty much taken for granted that he would replace Fletcher as the nickel cornerback.

At this point, we still believe that will be the case. But we're also suggesting that it's too early to close the door on Fletcher and to give up on him.

He certainly wouldn't be the first cornerback to struggle early in his career before emerging as a quality player. Remember that Fletcher was nothing short of awesome in college, his biggest strength being a sense of anticipation and the ability to come up with big plays.

He hasn't shown that in his first two years in the NFL, but maybe that's just because he has been adjusting to a new style of defense and to the speed of the league.

By now, Fletcher looks a step too slow to ever become a Pro Bowl cornerback, but we also think he hasn't played his best football yet and he might still become a factor for the Dolphins at some point.

Just wait.


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