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With the No. 9 overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft the Miami Dolphins drafted Ted Ginn Jr. That did not work out. Miami traded him to the San Francisco 49ers for a 5th round pick in 2010. Miami used that pick to add CB Nolan Carroll.
He started his career slowly, but in this off-season he impressed the new Joe Philbin regime to the point where he was climbing the depth chart. GM Jeff Ireland saw fit to trade CB Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts as a way to not only add a 2nd round return asset from the Colts, but to also allow a seemingly improving Carroll to get more playing time. That too has (apparently) changed.
Philbin and his staff seem to be ready to give R.J. Stanford more playing time going forward. If that is the case then word is it would come at the expense of Carroll’s playing time.
Miami has been burned through the air in 2012. Only five teams allow more passing yards than Miami. Sean Smith has seen his play regress, but so has Carroll. Richard Marshall is done for the season and Miami is desperate to find some legit play from their CBs. Smith grades alllll the way down at No. 42 for CBs, while Carroll is allllll the way down at No. 45.
Stanford played in 13 games last year for the Carolina Panthers. He had just one INT. He has played in 22 NFL games, but has yet to start one. Stanford has been on the field for just 40 plays this season, but if the rumors out of Miami are true he will be seeing significantly more action. Perhaps even a start or two before seasons end.
Stanford is fast, and is better in man coverage. Miami is playing a lot of zone lately, but they have been forced into that rather than actively trying to play zone. In college (Utah Utes) he was always ready/willing/able to take on new responsibilities/challenges so he has the make-up to be able to take on more for this secondary. He seems to be better suited to play as a nickel CB, but it does look like Miami is going to see what he can do covering the outside WRs.
Stanford does not get beat by double moves, but he does need to improve his technique. This is especially true on deeper routes as he can get caught using his hands too aggressively (can get too frisky). NFL refs are a nightmare when it comes to defensive pass interference.
Stanford is not a sound tackler. He is decent-at-best as a run-stopper, but this is an area of his game that could develop with more playing time (certainly what Miami is hoping).
We will watch Stanford’s playing time closely, and monitor his progression together.
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