Miami Dolphins’ 2023 Failure at Cornerback Summed Up by 2 Wild Stats


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In 2023, the Miami Dolphins spent more on the cornerback position than any team in the NFL.

The total? A whopping $58.8 million, per Over The Cap.

And yet the corners with the most and fourth-most playing time during the regular season were an oft-exposed nickelback who went undrafted in 2022 and a failed former first-round pick who didn’t have a job until Jalen Ramsey got hurt in training camp.

It’s easy to pick on those players — Kader Kohou and Eli Apple, who logged 938 and 547 defensive snaps, respectively.

But the truth is, their shortcomings were more a reflection of a high-risk, high-reward plan that went awry.

A Look Back at the Miami Dolphins’ 2023 Cornerbacks

The plan for this fall, as you might remember, was for Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey to lock down the perimeter and Kohou play the slot, with rookie Cam Smith ready to step in if needed.

Fast forward nine months, and Kohou was the only one of those four to play more than 70% of Miami’s defensive snaps.

Ramsey and Howard both missed significant time with injuries — Ramsey early in the year, Howard late.


And yet Smith, the second-round pick from April, couldn’t sniff the field, buried in Vic Fangio’s doghouse because the rookie, in Fangio’s words, needed to get better at “assignment, technique, execution, know-how.”

So, as the Dolphins enter an offseason of uncertainty — most specifically, involving Howard’s future — they might have to use a high draft pick on the position yet again.

Smith spoke to reporters Monday, two days after the team’s playoff loss to the Chiefs — a game for which he didn’t even dress.

Smith acknowledged that he didn’t love his role in 2023 but didn’t rip Fangio’s decision to put him in mothballs.

“[The message was] just kind of making sure that I stayed the course,” Smith said. “In the end, I feel like it was kind of a good thing for me just making sure that I stayed down and kind of learned from everybody that was around me.

“I had some of the best vets in the world in front of me. So just kind of learning from them, picking their brain every day. It was just kind of best for me. But at the same time, I was frustrated; I was not feeling the whole situation at first, but in the end, I feel like it worked out great for me.”


Not to be argumentative, but that’s not the full story.

Here’s what’s missing:

Smith couldn’t even beat out undrafted rookie Ethan Bonner for playing time. Bonner was active in the Wild Card Round instead of Smith and even had productive snaps on defense when Apple left the game briefly due to injury.

Speaking of Apple, he’s the one Dolphins cornerback whose play exceeded his paycheck in 2023, even if that isn’t saying much.

Apple signed for a hair over the minimum back in the summer, and while he had his ups and downs, his passer rating against (91.4) was better than that of Kohou (131) and fellow starting DBs DeShon Elliott (140.8) and Jevon Holland (99.3).

“I think I showed a lot of good things,” Apple said. “Of course, I’m confident in my abilities and always gonna continue to work to be the best athlete and be the best player that I can be and contribute wherever I can. So, I think I showed that for the most part.”

While Apple, as of Monday, hadn’t spoken to the Dolphins about a possible return in 2024, they could do a lot worse for a No. 4 or 5 cornerback.


Related Posts

Jayleп Waddle Emerges as the Fυtυre Pillar for the Miami Dolphiпs

In the dynamic world of the NFL, teams are constantly looking for the next generation of talent to lead them to success. For the Miami Dolphins, that beacon of promise and potential is none other than wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. As he continues to dazzle …

A Special Leap Day Celebratioп with the Miami Dolphiпs aпd Raheem Mostert

In a rare and joyous occasion that comes only once every four years, Leap Day has arrived, and fans of both the Miami Dolphins and running back Raheem Mostert have reason to celebrate in unison. This unique day on the calendar has taken on an extra layer …

Dolphins fan confidence poll as season comes to end

The Miami Dolphins’ 2023-2024 season came to a crashing end in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. How are fans feeling about the direction of the team heading into the offseason? Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout …

Where did Dolphins defensive weapons rank statistically in 2023?

The Miami Dolphins were officially eliminated from the postseason on Saturday in a 26-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. While Miami may not have reached their ultimate goals, a number of the players still had incredible seasons that …

Derrick Henry Seemingly Shoots His Shot at Dolphins

Advertisement Advertisement Did Derrick Henry use his Bussin’ With The Boys podcast interview to flirt with the Miami Dolphins?     Derrick Henry’s an impending free agent….

Dolphins confirm Tua Tagovailoa contract extension plan with strong GM message

While the Dolphins lost their playoff matchup to the Chiefs, Miami is still all in on Tua Tagovailoa. With the Miami Dolphins season coming to an end, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has one year remaining left on his contract. But as the Dolphins begin to …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *