Pre-Camp Analysis: Defensive Backs

As we keep getting closer to the 2007 training camp, we break down the Dolphins position by position, analyzing what they did in the offseason and what to expect in the upcoming season. We continue our series with a look at the secondary.

Who's new: CB Derrick Johnson (waivers), CB Tuff Harris (undrafted rookie), CB Geoffrey Pope (undrafted rookie), S David Lofton (undrafted rookie), S Courtney Bryan (undrafted rookie), S Chris Harrell (free agent), S Christopher Vedder (undrafted rookie), S Cameron Worrell (UFA, Chicago)

Who's gone: CB Eddie Jackson (not tendered as RFA)

Who's back: CB Shirdonya Mitchell, CB Michael Lehan, CB Travis Daniels, CB Andre' Goodman, CB Will Allen, CB/S Jason Allen, S Renaldo Hill, S Travares Tillman, S Yeremiah Bell

What happened in the offseason: There was more than one observer who thought the Dolphins needed to upgrade their secondary in the offseason, but the only addition of note came with the signing of former Bears safety Cameron Worrell, who has been pretty much a special teams-only guy early in his career. What the Dolphins did was keep intact their secondary group from last year, with the lone exception of former backup Eddie Jackson.

What to expect: Despite the return of the four starters, there could be a change in the lineup at the beginning of the season, and that's because of Andre' Goodman's two offseason shoulder surgeries. Goodman, who probably was the team's best DB a year ago, isn't expected back until midway through training camp at best is likely to be replaced by former starter Travis Daniels. The former fourth-round pick struggled with a bad ankle all of last season after starting as a rookie in 2005. The rest of the starting lineup should include Will Allen at cornerback, and Renaldo Hill and Yeremiah Bell at safety. It also will be interesting to see how much playing time is given to Jason Allen, the 2006 first-round pick who really struggled as a rookie.

What we think: While we agree the Dolphins could have used a stud DB to bolster this group, we're inclined to think it wasn't as big a need as many thought. The reason is that this group had spurts last year where it played very well, most notably after Bell was put into the starting lineup. The key here might be getting Goodman back because, as we mentioned, he was very good as a cover corner last year. There's also a school of thought that says these guys will play better now that Nick Saban is gone, because Saban was merciless on the defensive backs because that was his area of expertise. This secondary isn't going to be the best in the league, but there is some depth at cornerback and enough talent overall for it to be more than respectable. As concerns go on this team, we'd put the secondary way behind the offensive line and also behind the depth at linebacker.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.