The corner back position was one of the biggest areas of need for the Miami Dolphins heading into the recent 2016 NFL Draft, and it showed on the Dolphins draft board.
Starting in the second round, the Dolphins traded up to draft Baylor Bears CB Xavien Howard at 38th overall from the Baltimore Ravens. For the Dolphins, Howard was worth trading up and skipping other DB's like Kendall Fuller, Mackensie Alexander and Vonn Bell, all who were rated higher than Howard's projected 3rd round grade.
But the Dolphins are changing the culture under new HC Adam Gase, and referred to Howard multiple times as "their guy" and an "alpha male." After rumors that the Chicago Bears were thinking about taking Howard, the Dolphins jumped them and moved up, spending their fourth round pick on Howard.
Howard has the size to thrive under new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph's press and physical scheme. He is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and runs a sub 4.5 40-yard dash.
In 2015 alone, Howard had five interceptions and 10 passes defended as well as recovering a fumble. He can play all over the field and will be used to cover the AFC's bigger receivers such as A.J. Green and Rob Gronkowski.
After being drafted, Howard was noted saying that he models his game after guys like Darrelle Revis and Miami's own Byron Maxwell, who will likely be paired with Howard as the team's starting cornerback duo.
Both are physical, strong, and like to press at the line of scrimmage.
Overall, considering the scheme-fit for Howard on this Miami defense, I consider this to be a smarter draft pick than it originally seemed. However, losing a fourth round pick on someone who probably would have been there at 41-42 overall hurts.
FINAL DRAFT GRADE: B+null