The Miami Dolphins made a series of roster moves Monday, adding two players and placing cornerback Trill Williams on injured reserve.
The two newcomers are veteran cornerback Mackensie Alexander and nose tackle Niles Scott.
The move to put Williams on IR had been expected since word came Sunday that he had sustained a torn ACL in the preseason opener at Tampa Bay the previous night. It's a very disappointing development for Williams, who really was having a strong second NFL training camp to that point.
Alexander, who played at Immokalee High in southwest Florida, played five of his first six NFL seasons with the Vikings, returning to Minnesota on a one-year contract in 2021 after one season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Alexander, who has started 25 games in his six NFL seasons, struggled in 2021 based on his Pro Football Reference metrics, allowing a 119.2 passer rating when targeted. His numbers in that category were much more impressive the previous three seasons — 82.1 in 2018, 84.3 in 2019 and 82.3 in 2020.
Alexander (5-10, 190) played at Clemson, where he was teammates with Christian Wilkins during Wilkins' freshman year of 2015.
Here is what Publisher Will Ragatz of SI Fan Nation sister site Inside the Vikings wrote about Alexander as he was about to hit free agency in March: "Alexander might have been one of the Vikings' most disappointing players last season. He returned to Minnesota after a year away and didn't look like the same reliable slot corner we saw from 2017-19. Alexander was beaten frequently in coverage and was merely fine as a run defender. But the Vikings need corners, and maybe they think he could have a bounce-back year on another one-year, veteran minimum deal."
Alexander was one of two cornerbacks who worked out for the Dolphins on Monday, according to PFN reporter Aaron Wilson, the other being rookie free agent Raleigh Texada.
HOW MACKENSIE ALEXANDER FITS IN THE DOLPHINS SECONDARY
Alexander's acquisition comes in the aftermath of the knee injury that landed Williams on injured reserve, though there's an interesting twist here.
Williams' injury left the Dolphins particularly thin in terms of proven depth when it comes to boundary cornerbacks, but Alexander has spent his career in the slot.
Nik Needham has developed into a very good slot corner for the Dolphins, so Alexander's acquisition suggests it's a depth move at that spot unless the Dolphins would just want to slid Needham outside if they needed somebody to play there.
Byron Jones, who is slated to start outside opposite Xavien Howard, has been on PUP since the start of training camp after having offseason leg surgery.
With Williams out, Keion Crossen looks like the next in line outside behind Howard and Jones, and ahead of 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene.
THE BOOK ON NILES SCOTT
Scott joins the Dolphins with six regular season games of NFL experience, but those came all the way back in 2018 when he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Since then, he has bounced on and off the practice squads of the Buffalo Bills, Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.
His last team was Seattle, which waived him in May. He missed the 2019 season with a foot injury.
Scott (6-2, 321) was a first-team AP Little America selection in 2017 after starring at Division III Frostburg State in Maryland.
Scott, who entered the NFL as a rookie free agent in 2018, had 10 sacks in that final year in college.
This was his NFL.com scouting report heading into the 2018 draft:
"Squatty, but quick, Scott is a powerful three-technique with good athletic ability and agility to rummage around the pocket once he gets there. Some NFL teams may envision him as a shade nose in a 4-3 scheme, but he may have the ability to fit into either of those defensive tackle spots. His level of competition will be heavily scrutinized, but he may have the ability to make a roster as an undrafted free agent once he tightens up his hand work.
"Girthy lower body provides sturdy, balanced base. Low center of gravity allows for sharp cornering around the edge of blockers. Works with plus efficiency of movement in path to the football. Powerful leg drive and low pad level help him push through gaps. Good stalking quickness in pursuit of quarterbacks. Plays with good vision beyond the blockers. Has the size and tools for rapid improvement as run defender.
"Unleashed power on much smaller foes than he will see in the pros. Lacks length and allows his frame to be attacked with first hands too often. Will need to learn to operate with earlier hands as run defender. Initial get-off is average and relies on gradual power over explosiveness. Doesn't have as many early wins through twitchy upper body as you want."