Dolphins Take Nolan Carroll, Reshad Jones In 5th Round

After trading back into the 5th round,  the Dolphins selected safety Rashed Jones. Jones is versatile, and can play both free and strong safety. General manager Jeff Ireland said today in his Day 3 wrapup press conference that they will try Jones out at free safety first, but I think that at some point down the line, he will end up the eventual replacement for Yeremiah Bell at strong safety.

Jones has a very high ceiling, and was a steal in the 5th round.

Strengths:

Jones possesses great overall size, height and bulk for the strong safety position. Has good athleticism and top-end speed. Has the strength and toughness necessary to effectively come up in run support and is comfortable playing down in the box. Is a highly-competitive player. Was a very productive and durability performer for the Bulldogs.

Weaknesses:

Jones can be an inconsistent reactor at times, and get cut off by blockers. He is often caught out of position and takes false steps. Occasionally showed inconsistent effort. Needs to play with a better motor. Does not possess adequate ball skills for an NFL free safety and drops catchable interceptions.

It will be the hands of Jones that will be his downfall at free safety. I truly think that this kid will make it in the NFL as a strong safety, and not free safety. Hopefully the Dolphins realize that sooner rather than later.

Nolan Carroll is a raw cornerback prospect that will get his shot on special teams, and hopefully will evolve into the Fins nickel corner. He has a history of injury problems, including a broken leg this year that limited him to all but two games this year.

Read & React: Still developing in this area. Understands what the receiver is trying to do and has experience at that position. At his best facing the quarterback and has a good burst to close. Has the straight-line speed to chase receivers across the field.

Man Coverage: Physical defender. Will use his hands and body lean to disrupt the timing and route-running of his opponent. A bit high in his backpedal and has a hitch when turning, which negates his straight-line speed. Good size to handle bigger receivers on slants and crossing patterns.

Zone Coverage: Improving awareness for zone coverage. Keeps an eye on the underneath receiver and but protects the back end as well. Comes off his man to react to the ball being thrown, but is not so aggressive as to open holes for the quarterback.

Closing/Recovery: More fast than he is quick, but has enough of a burst to close downhill and knock the ball away. Competes for the jump ball and has an explosive vertical. Quick, active hands to knock the ball free, but was moved to cornerback from receiver for a reason — had zero interceptions and nine passes broken up the 2008-09 seasons. Has to show better hand-eye coordination and a greater focus on interceptions than the big hit.

Run Support: Fights through receiver blocks to get involved, but is still learning the nuances of the position. Only marginal rip technique to disengage. Good agility to elude bigger blockers. Willing open-field tackler that provides a pop upon contact.

Tackling: One of his better areas. Physical and makes the secure stop in the open field. Good strength for the drag-down tackle. Times hits well and can knock the ball out of the receiver’s hands to break up the pass. Quality special teams defender that posted seven tackles in 2007.

Intangibles: Has struggled with durability throughout his career and missed all but two games in 2009 with a broken right tibia. Underwent surgery on September 18 to have a screw inserted to stabilize the bone. Emerged as a team leader and was voted captain in 2009. Graduated with a degree in Family Science in December.

Much of Carroll’s future depends on whether he can stay healthy or not. He would have been a 2nd day pick if it were not for his broken leg. After the injury he fell off most teams draft boards.

He is the perfect compliment to both Sean Smith and Vontae Davis.


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