Should the Dolphins Move McCain?

Miami Dolphins defensive back Bobby McCain prides himself on being able to line up anywhere in the secondary, but that doesn't mean he's equally effective at all spots
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Bobby McCain addressed the South Florida media via video conference call Thursday with framed jerseys of 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander and former Panthers wide receiver and former Memphis University teammate Mose Frazier on the wall behind him.

It was a typical McCain conversation, with him talking about the team first and saying he's always willing to do whatever is asked of him.

That came up when he was asked his thoughts about playing safety, which is what the Dolphins asked him to do in 2019 after he had spent his first four NFL seasons at cornerback.

“I’m a guy that can play any place in the backfield," McCain said. "With practice and with time, everyone gets better. It’s not my decision to make decisions. My job is to just play football. I love playing football and I love doing what I do, and I’m able to do it all.”

McCain's willingness to move him around is admirable, particularly in light of what happened with Minkah Fitzpatrick last year, but maybe the Dolphins would be wise to keep McCain at the spot where he played his best football.

And that's not safety.

And it's also not boundary cornerback, which is where McCain lined up most of the time in 2018 because the Dolphins didn't have a better alternative to start opposite Xavien Howard.

Anybody who has watched McCain's career since he arrived as a fifth-round pick in 2015 can see he's been effective as a slot corner.

The analytics compiled by Pro Football Focus support that argument — and in a big way.

McCain was at his best in 2017 in his third season when he played mostly nickel corner and opposing quarterbacks had a 78.4 passer rating when targeting him, according to PFF.

Those numbers jumped to 120.7 in 2018 and 107.1 in 2019, per PFF, though McCain wasn't targeted nearly as often last season when he ended up on IR in November. His PFF grade of 76.4 in 2017 as a nickel cornerback is significantly higher than any other season grade he's had.

McCain was flagged for two penalties in nine games last year after being flagged seven times in 2018 and twice in 14 games in 2017.

McCain did tie his career high with two interceptions last season — at Dallas and in the win at Indianapolis. He also had two interceptions in 2017 when he had a career-high seven passes defensed.

It was after that 2017 season that the Dolphins gave McCain a contract extension, which now has three years remaining.

McCain's unselfishness was recognized the past two years when he was named a team captain on defense.

The Dolphins have built up a lot of depth in the secondary in the offseason with the signing of free agent cornerback Byron Jones, along with the draft selections of cornerback Noah Igbinoghene and safety Brandon Jones.

The assumption is that Igbinoghene will start his career playing the nickel corner position, where he would be favored to replace incumbent Jamal Perry (formerly Jomal Wiltz).

But it says here that somebody else who should be playing that spot in 2020 is Bobby McCain. His versatility and team-first attitude are bonuses, but that's simply where he's been most effective for the Dolphins.