With the 70th overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected one of the most quietly interesting players in the draft. Brandon Jones, safety out of Texas, is not particularly unique in his physical capabilities or overall talent level. He missed the combine due to injury. So what makes him so interesting?
Over the course of the last year, in an attempt to make himself stand out to NFL scouts, Jones studied the defensive plays of every single team in the league. He went through multiple games for each team in the league, studied and analyzed every single defensive snap, and put together a study binder. He spent 8 weeks actively trying to improve his football IQ and make himself stand out as a potential cerebral addition to an NFL secondary.
Knowing Brian Flores and the value he places on the backside of the defense, it’s no surprise that Miami chose to make him the first Longhorn off the board.
Find out who Miami took in Round 2 here
The player and his fit
So what kind of player is Brandon Jones? Lance Zierlein of the NFL Network describes him as having a “thumper’s heart”. He’s another high motor, energetic player who played all over the field at the college level, but his size and build has many scouts concerned. He strikes me as the type of player who has tried to overcome his shortcomings with sheer enthusiasm, which can be both a boon and a drawback.
All of this can work with the right roster fit. Miami has Eric Rowe and Adrian Colbert currently as their safety starters, and it’s hard to imagine Jones might replace either right off the bat. Instead, it’s easier to imagine him as a third safety/slot coverage player, stepping in when Miami has nickel or dime packages. Viewed in conjunction with the Noah Igbinoghene selection in the third round, we can see clear supporting characters to fill out the backfield on passing downs. Brian Flores is rebuilding his man coverage defense from New England, and Jones is clearly a part of that puzzle.
At the conclusion of day 2, Miami has demonstrated the plan. On offense, it was getting Tua, and protecting him. They clearly feel good about the weapons available to him, so they stacked the line as hard as possible. So far, including free agency, Miami has added four offensive linemen. And on Defense, it was to get depth on the secondary and reinforce the Defensive line. Both tasks complete.
Day 3 of the draft leaves some holes to fill. Running back is clearly still a need, and it’s a bit surprising that Miami still hasn’t addressed it in the draft. The offensive line was so historically bad last year that I’d expect more picks there. Defensively I’d be surprised to see more players taken from the secondary, and instead expect to see Miami address the front seven in later rounds. However, with so many picks, Miami could potentially go any direction, so we’ll see how Saturday unfolds.