Big blow to defense

This is not exactly the kind of news you wanted to hear early in May as the Dolphins start learning Nick Saban's new defensive scheme. And, make no mistake, the loss of second-year cornerback Will Poole would be a big blow to the Dolphins defense.

Poole's injury first was reported Saturday morning and confirmed by his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, during Rosenhaus' weekly segment on Miami TV station WSVN.

While not mentioning the words "torn ACL," as newspaper reports suggest, Rosenhaus did say about the injury, "We think it's pretty significant."

Poole, who was very impressive as a rookie after joining the Dolphins as a fourth-round pick last year, was the best option on the roster at this time to fill the starting job vacated by the trade of Patrick Surtain to Kansas City the day before the draft.

Despite his inexperience, Poole showed more last season than veteran Reggie Howard, who had been signed in the offseason as a free agent.

The contract given Howard was considered excessive by many observers, and Howard did little in his first year with the Dolphins to prove anybody wrong.

Maybe that's why, according to profootballtalk.com, the Dolphins asked Howard to take a pay cut or risk being released.

The idea of cutting Howard doesn't appear to make much sense now because now that Poole is gone, he might be next in line to start.

Of course, the Dolphins could go shopping for a veteran currently available or wait for a June 1 salary-cap casualty. Former New England Pro Bowl corner Ty Law is still without a team, but he's still recovering from a foot injury and hasn't been able to work out all offseason. Terrell Buckley is also out there.

But nothing changes the fact that losing Poole really hurts because this guy looks like someone with a great future in the NFL.

And who knows what this kind of injury could do in the long run.

For now, the cornerbacks on the roster most likely to battle for the starting job are Howard, veteran free agent acquisition Mario Edwards and fourth-round pick Travis Daniels.

None of them are as good as Poole.

The Dolphins didn't have a lot of things go their way last year. One can only hope the Poole injury wasn't an omen of a repeat.


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