In the 2007 NFL draft the Miami Dolphins had the #9 overall pick and they used it to select Ted Ginn Jr. As a kick returner Ginn was decent, but as a WR he averaged just 35 receiving yards per game in his 3 seasons with Miami. The ‘Phins would trade Ginn to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 5th round draft pick which Miami used to draft Nolan Carroll out of the University of Maryland.
Carroll spent most of his life as a WR, but at during his time at Maryland he converted to CB. He would get so good, and was such a team leader that he would earn Captain honors in 2009. His leadership skills are genetic. His mom and dad were both longtime military personnel.
He runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, and has good technique. He is explosive coming out of his break, and in man-coverage he has good enough speed to close on the WR and make a play on the ball.
Carroll played in 28 games in his first 2 seasons, but just 4 of those were as a starter. His improved play under new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was evident early on. He was quickly learning the new defense quickly, plus the new Dolphins regime preaches technique and his was improving.
Things got to the point where they the management felt that Carroll’s arrow was pointing up and that made Vontae Davis expendable (at the same time Davis’ arrow was pointing down and Carroll, plus free-agent singing Richard Marshall, were passing Davis on the depth chart).
Carroll has played in all 7 games this season, and has started 3. He has zero INTs so far in 2012, but his play does seem to be getting better and better.
For Carroll to continue his rise he will need to improve his tackling. This will also help him be more effective in assisting vs the run.
You may remember Carroll was the Dolphin that former New York Jets coach Sal Alosi tripped in December of 2010 in one of the oddest things you will see. Pretty much the dictionary-definition of “what were you thinking”.
Marshall remains sidelined with a back issue and Carroll continues to take advantage of his playing time, but he does need to get himself a few INTs to cement his playing time going forward.
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