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The Rookies – Cornell Armstrong

Travis Wingfield



The Dolphins are in the news this week for an alleged feud between ownership and the personnel department. Here on Locked On Dolphins, we detailed a potential changing of the guard via a Mike Tannenbaum departure at the conclusion of the 2018 season.

One of the creeds of the Mike Tannenbaum Team Building Philosophy is to construct a roster based upon the tenants of a preset prototype. The cornerback position offers a readily apparent distinction of traits admired by the current regime.

Xavien Howard is listed at six-foot, 201 pounds.

Cordrea Tankersley goes six-one, 190.

Tony Lippett towers over the rest at six-three, 192 pounds.

Bobby McCain is strictly an interior guy (my argument that he should never leave the field is for another column), hence the exception to the norm – he’s five-foot-nine.

Cornell Armstrong is a perimeter corner, he always was at Southern Miss. At five-foot-ten, those two inches shy of the cut-off may not cause the eyes to bulge, but it flies directly in the face of the template laid out by the Dolphins’ EVP. He does, however, fit the new mold of taking athletes over plodders.

Armstrong’s takeaway production doesn’t properly reflect his ability to play the ball. He’s feisty, a willing tackler and can separate his man from the football. His 29 passes defensed display an innate ability both to get into phase in man-coverage, but also fire his trigger in zone.

According to our friends at Pro Football Focus, Armstrong allowed a measly 52.5 passer-rating-against in 2017. Only 37% of the passes targeted in his direction were completed.

He’s a developmental corner with an opportunity to make the 53-man roster to provide depth. An impending battle with incumbents Torry McTyer, Jordan Lucas and a laundry list of others, will round out a young, aggressive cornerback group.

The fate of Armstrong’s rookie season depends on his ability to contribute on special teams. With 4.45-speed, and sheer will, Armstrong could challenge to be a gunner on the punt team and cover kickoffs.


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  1. Ronald Hiatt Jr

    May 10, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Very good article Travis it’s funny I see the Armstrong drafting in the same light as you do that he wasn’t a Mike T pick based on prototype for size but Armstrong does match the Man/Zone cover corner that gets hands on the ball Can tackle and is smart. I do think that Howard and Lippett have to be worried about Torry McTyer and Cornell Armstrong for roster spots. Howard is famous for slow starts and play that can only be described as barely hanging on. I like Lippett a lot but he wasn’t very fast before the achilles so I will be watching to see if he lost his smoothness. If 1 or both struggle the talent is there to make a seamless transition and in all likely hood Jordan Lucas won’t make it this year.

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