Dolphins Surprise by Picking Auburn Star Noah Igbinoghene in 1st Round

The Dolphins reaped three 1st-rounders in a very important draft

Getty The Dolphins reaped three 1st-rounders in a very important draft

After a flood of rumors that had the Dolphins attempting to move up to in the 1st round, Miami instead used their first two picks as slotted and traded back on their third pick, going from 26th to 30th in a deal with the Packers that added yet another pick, a 4th-rounder (136th overall)–giving the Dolphins 15 picks in this draft, by far the most in the league.

The Dolphins came into all this quite aware of just how important this weekend, this night in particular, could be.

As GM Chris Grier said, according to the tram’s website: “If you get it right, make the right picks and the smart picks, we have a chance to build a strong team here for a long time.”

They addressed their long-term quarterback issue by taking Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick. They bolstered the tackle spot on the offensive line with Austin Jackson, one player who will be called upon to protect Tagovailoa whenever he does hit the field, with the 18th pick.

Finally, they landed cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, not projected to be a first-round selection, with pick No. 30. The move was something of a shocker. Igbinonghene is a tremendous natural athlete but was converted from receiver only two years ago and lacks instincts for the position.

Still, while the offense has gotten the bulk of the attention heading into the draft and with the first pick, the Dolphins were hurting on the defensive side for all of last year—Ryan Fitzpatrick’s late-year revival at least gave some hope for the offense. That would likely have carried over with or without Tagovailoa.

The defense, though, was a mess. That had to be especially appalling for first-year coach Brian Flores. His Dolphins’ D ranked dead last in the NFL in points allowed (30.9 per game), yards allowed per pass attempt (7.4), and passing touchdowns allowed (39). There’s more: Miami was 28th in forced turnovers (16), 30th in first downs allowed, and 27th in rushing yards allowed (2,166).

Of special note was the Dolphins’ utter lack of a pass rush. They sacked the quarterback 23.0 times, 5 times fewer than No. 2 in the league (Detroit, Seattle, and Atlanta were tied).

Flores came to Miami after spending 15 years working with New England coach Bill Belichick, the last eight years as an assistant on the defensive side of the ball. He spent four years coaching the Patriots’ safeties and three years coaching their linebackers. The Dolphins are short in both areas.

That made the pick of Igbinogehene somewhat strange. The Dolphins had other defensive needs, as well as a need at running back. But they took a gamble instead.

What Noah Igbinoghene Can do For the Dolphins

Here is the scouting report on Noah Igbinoghene:

Stocky but explosive receiver-turned-cornerback whose play generates both intrigue and concern. He’s extremely physical from snap to whistle with the strength to alter route timing from press. He’s a good athlete with a plus burst to close. He’s naturally aggressive to ambush catch tries. Staying in phase on the vertical plane is a challenge and pattern recognition is surprisingly average. Improvement is likely with more experience and technique, but playing with downfield poise is not guaranteed. He’s good in run support and offers early special teams help as he continues to learn his craft.

Dolphins’ Current Draft Board

Miami entered the NFL Draft with 14 picks, including three in the first round. Both were most of any team in the league. Here’s where the Dolphins stand now and in the coming rounds:

  • Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama. 1st Round — No. 5
  • Austin Jackson, OL, USC. 1st Round — No. 18 (via Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn. 1st Round — No. 26 (via Houston Texans)
  • 2nd Round — No. 39
  • 2nd Round — No. 56 (via New Orleans Saint)
  • 3rd Round — No. 70
  • 4th Round — No. 136
  • 4th Round — No. 141
  • 5th Round — No. 153 (via Arizona Cardinals)
  • 5th Round — No. 154 (via Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • 5th Round — No. 173 (via L.A. Rams)
  • 6th Round — No. 185
  • 7th Round — No. 227 (via Indianapolis Colts)
  • 7th Round — No. 246 (via Kansas City Chiefs)
  • 7th Round — No. 251
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