Dolphins add depth at CB, RB on second day of NFL draft
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins added depth to their secondary by selecting South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith with the 51st pick of the NFL draft Friday night, then addressed a skills position by taking Texas A&M's speedy running back Devon Achane with pick No. 84.
Achane, who runs a 4.43 40-yard dash, had 1,102 yards rushing on 196 carries with eight TDs for the Aggies in 2022. Texas A&M also used him as a kick returner and receiver last year. He had 196 yards and three TDs at receiver.
Smith — a prospect that some experts felt had first-round talent — had six interceptions and 3.5 tackles for loss during his career with the Gamecocks. He's joining a Dolphins secondary that was decimated by injuries last season, which played a role in Miami finishing 27th in passing defense in 2022.
Smith said he didn't have many conversations with the Dolphins during the pre-draft process, but he was South Carolina teammates with the son of Miami general manager Chris Grier.
“I was just calling Landon (Grier) because we were just talking about how if I fell late into the second round, it could be that," Smith said. “I was just going off of what he was saying about the process, and then what Chris Grier was saying when I was on my visit — If they had the chance to get me, they would come and get me, and they stayed true to that.”
Smith is versatile and can play both outside corner and slot. He said that he and Grier spoke about getting adjusted to the NFL and honing his technique on the outside first.
“Then moving inside a little later,” Smith said, “moving, learning those things and stuff like that. So just kind of gradually going into it.”
Miami cornerback Nik Needham (Achilles) and safety Brandon Jones (knee) both suffered season-ending injuries in 2022. Cornerback Byron Jones, who Miami released last month, missed the entire season after having surgery on his lower left leg. And veteran Xavien Howard dealt with groin injuries all year.
The Dolphins finished last year ranked 18th in total defense and 24th in scoring defense and have focused on rebuilding their secondary so far this offseason.
They fired defensive coordinator Josh Boyer shortly after the 2022 season and brought in Vic Fangio to lead the defense. Last month, Miami traded for former Rams All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Miami brought back running backs Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert in free agency but was looking to add depth at the position.
The Smith selection is a bit of a surprise for the Dolphins, who could have added a tight end or offensive lineman with their first pick of the draft.
The Dolphins have two picks — 197th and 238th — on Saturday.
The Dolphins did not have a first-round pick after forfeiting one when an NFL investigation found they violated the league’s antitampering policy regarding communication with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
Miami gave up its other 2023 first-rounder in a November trade with Denver for edge rusher Bradley Chubb.
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Alanis Thames, The Associated Press