Miami Dolphins cornerback Tony Lippett talks to reporters after NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in Davie. Fla. Tony Lippett played mostly receiver at Michigan State, but the second-year pro is now a contender for a starting job at cornerback
Alan Diaz
May 24, 2016

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Heading into his second NFL season, Tony Lippett says he no longer dreams about catching touchdown passes.

Interceptions are more like it.

Lippett played mostly receiver at Michigan State, but the Miami Dolphins drafted him as a cornerback in the fifth round a year ago, and now he's in contention for a starting job.

''I'm just trying to compete,'' Lippett said Tuesday, when the Dolphins began three weeks of OTAs. ''You can never go wrong with competing. I can't predict the future. I'm going to compete and let the marbles fall where they fall.''

Lippett might be wise not to handicap his chances of becoming a starting cornerback, because he's still a relative novice at the position.

Lippett worked out as both a receiver and cornerback for scouts before the draft. He started two games in 2014 at both positions, and started five games at cornerback as a freshman.

But he was Michigan State's most valuable player in 2014 primarily because of his pass catching. He had 149 career receptions, including 16 for scores.

He played in nine games for Miami as a rookie, mostly on special teams, and had one pass defended.

When did he stop thinking of himself as a receiver?

''Probably the day I got drafted,'' he said. ''The Dolphins told me I wasn't playing receiver, so you've got to convert right then and there. I like where I'm at.''

So do the Dolphins. They consider his 6-foot-3 height an asset, although he's still learning how to take advantage of it - and how to do just about everything the position requires.

''I've become a smarter corner,'' he said. ''I've learned the lingo. But I can work on everything. I'm more comfortable than I was last year; there's still room to go.''

Lippett will compete for playing time opposite veteran newcomer Byron Maxwell, who is expected to start. Also in contention for playing time is 2016 second-round draft pick Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain, a fifth-round pick in 2015.

''I keep saying, `This is a great opportunity,''' new head coach Adam Gase said earlier this offseason. ''We're looking for somebody to step up. Opportunities are going to be given. We'll see what guy rises to the top.''

Veteran Leon Hall, who is still a free agent, could be another option.

Working in Lippett's favor is his size, which makes him potentially a good fit for the press coverage new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph favors.

''He harps on it every day,'' Lippett said. ''He loves it. That's what we want to do.''

Lippett said he watches video of other cornerbacks, big and small, as he learns the position. His experience at receiver comes in handy when the ball's in the air, he said, but also sometimes causes him to look at the quarterback expecting a pass at the wrong time.

The biggest challenge at the position?

''Being patient is the big thing at corner, if the ball is not coming your way,'' he said.

For Lippett, lobbying the quarterback is no longer an option.

Notes: Receiver Leonte Carroo, a third-round pick this year, and tight end Thomas Duarte, a seventh-round choice, signed their rookie contracts.

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