PHILADELPHIA (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins made some history during the first two days of the 2017 NFL Draft.
For the first time ever, the Dolphins selected a defensive player with each of the team’s first three picks.
Miami used their only 3rd Round pick, 97th overall, on Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley.
Tankersley comes to Miami fresh off winning a national championship with Clemson last season and was considered their top cornerback.
Often matched up against the opponents top wide receiver, the 6-foot-1, 199 pound Tankersley emerged as a physical, shutdown corner during his final two years with the Tigers.
He held opposing quarterbacks to a 41.2 passer rating over the past two seasons.
Over 55 games and 30 starts with Clemson, Tankersley racked up 149 tackles, nine interceptions and 22 pass breakups.
“He’s a guy that’s still learning the corner position,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. “He’s got a lot of traits we like. He’s long. He’s got length. He’s got speed. He has ball skills. Again, he’s got a lot of stuff that we like. We think that there’s a tremendous upside.”
He was a finalist for both the Jim Thorpe Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award during his senior year, recording 65 tackles, six for a loss, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions. He was also voted first-team All-ACC.
Tankersley plays smart and is already familiar with the style of defense Miami likes to play.
“They’re a great man [coverage] team,” Tankersley said of Miami. “They run a lot of man. They want to match up. I feel like I fit their team. Also, they want to do some zone and mix it up. I feel like I fit that scheme, as well. I feel like they do an aggressive style, which I had at Clemson, so I think I fit that mold pretty well.”
Tankersley posted the fifth-fastest time at the NFL Combine with a 4.40 40-yard dash.
He will likely begin his career in a reserve role behind starting cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard.
It will be a treat for Tankersley to play with Maxwell, a player he has looked up to for a while.
“I watched Byron play when I was being recruited out of high school, so I’m quite familiar with his game,” Tankersley said. “I kind of model my game after him. Being on the same team as him and having the opportunity to play opposite of him, that’s a blessing.
“He’s one of those bigger corners that can match up with anybody across the board, and I feel like I can match up with any [wide receiver] in the country or the NFL, so I feel like I fit the mold same as him – somebody who is going to go out there and play confident football.”
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Tankersley contributing on special teams as he excelled in that area while at Clemson.
“I played a little bit of everything,” he said. “I was a gunner on kickoffs. I also was a gunner on punt, as well. I also did some blocking on punts. I’m quite familiar with special teams. I played special teams all four years of my career.”
The draft will conclude on Saturday with rounds four through seven. Miami holds four picks, three 5th round picks (166th, 178th and 184th) and one 7th round pick (223rd).