Earlier today, it was reported that unrestricted free agent Louis Delmas visited the Miami Dolphins on February 28 on an official visit. This is important because the Dolphins will be in the market for a safety since Chris Clemons is a free agent. According to sources, the Dolphins like Clemons but would like to upgrade the position. Those same sources have also said that if Jarius Byrd and/or T.J. Ward hit the free agency market, the Dolphins plan to make a huge run at them in hopes that they sign one or the other. Of course, every team must have a backup plan and it appears the Dolphins are doing their homework.
Delmas, who is 27, has played for the Detroit Lions his entire career dating back to 2009 when he was a second-round draft pick. Since that time, he has put up solid stats. He has played in 65 total games and has accumulated 331 tackles, five sacks, one safety, 24 passes defended, and six interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, Delmas had a rating of +2.0 this past season. On the other hand, Clemons had a rating of +4.1.
While this doesn’t seem like a huge difference, it gets a little interesting when you compare their coverage and run defense ratings. PFF gave Clemons a coverage grade of +7.2, which was ninth among all safeties. He only allowed 0.20 yards per coverage snap, which was the best in the league. However, his run defense graded out at -3.6 and he had 14 missed tackles, which was the 13th most of all safeties.
Delmas ranked 11th of all safeties in coverage and allowed a reception every 42.4 snaps he was on the field. This was good enough to be ranked the third best safety in the league in that category. He had an overall coverage grade of +5.4 but graded out at -1.5 against the run.
Based off stats alone, it does not appear that Delmas is a huge upgrade over Clemons. When you dig a little deeper, you will find that Delmas takes poor angles on plays and likes to take chances. The Dolphins already have a player like that in Reshad Jones. Imagine having two of those guys back there?
If the Dolphins are going to sign a safety, they are better off looking at Byrd, Ward, or even Donte Whitner. Signing Delmas should not be an option as he is not much of an improvement over Clemons. In addition, the Dolphins know exactly who they are getting with Clemons and that’s someone who is going to always work hard and strive to be the best player that he could possibly be.
Keep an eye out on the safety market over the next week to see how it all shapes out. With no can’t miss safety prospects in the upcoming draft, it will be very important that the Dolphins address this position in free agency.