Cam Smith

Coaching Notes: Vrabel, Fangio, Dolphins, Eagles, Marrone, Saints, Titans, Bills

Seeing as Mike Vrabel went from highly regarded HC to trade candidate to bumped off this year’s carousel entirely, potential reasoning behind the ex-Titans boss’ standing is certainly relevant. Vrabel’s old-school, intimidating style may have been a factor in him not landing a job, with a GM going so far as to mention to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini this even could even extend to his physical stature. The former NFL linebacker also may have found himself pigeonholed as a slightly older candidate, even at 48, than some owners wanted, Russini offered during an appearance on The Athletic Football Show. Only Jim Harbaugh (60) and Dan Quinn (53) was older among this year’s eight HC hires. Vrabel interviewed for the Falcons, Panthers and Chargers’ jobs.

Some teams were interested in hiring Vrabel as a defensive coordinator, Russini adds, but the six-year NFL HC has not been connected to any specific coordinator jobs. With not many DC positions left, Vrabel seems likely to join Bill Belichick as coaches on the outside looking in this year. Vrabel may stand to have a better chance of landing another HC job moving forward, with Belichick set to turn 72 in April. For now, however, he is out of the league. The reports about Vrabel clashing with Titans ownership may have impacted his chances as well.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • On the subject of coaching clashes, Vic Fangio‘s style did not appear to draw universal praise while with the Dolphins. Jalen Ramsey, Jevon Holland and rookie Cam Smith expressed issues with the veteran DC,’s Adam Beasley notes. While praising Fangio’s old-school demands, Tyreek Hill also relayed a rumor about others indicating behind closed doors the team’s 2023 DC wanted to return to Philadelphia. Previously mentioned as rubbing some in Miami the wrong way, Fangio is indeed back with the Eagles. The Dolphins have hired ex-Ravens D-line coach Anthony Weaver to replace him.
  • Preparing to hire Klint Kubiak as offensive coordinator, the Saints will not extend Doug Marrone‘s second stint with the team into the 2024 season. In place as the Saints’ offensive line coach from 2022-23, Marrone will not be asked back, Nick Underhill of tweets. The Saints have veteran O-line coach John Benton as a frontrunner to fill the spot,’s Luke Johnson adds. Benton, 60, would be a logical hire. He worked as Gary Kubiak‘s O-line coach for eight years in Houston and was the 49ers’ O-line coach under Kyle Shanahan from 2017-20. After following Robert Saleh to New York in 2021, Benton spent this past season out of football.
  • Former Falcons assistants Steve Jackson and Frank Bush will be part of new Titans DC Dennard Wilson‘s staff,’s Turron Davenport tweets. A former Texans DC and interim Jets DC, Bush was on Arthur Smith‘s Falcons staff as linebackers coach for three years. This will be a return trip for Jackson, who has a history as a player and a coach with the franchise. A former Oilers cornerback, Jackson finished his career in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans. He later served as assistant DBs coach under Mike Mularkey in Tennessee from 2016-17. Jackson spent the past two seasons with the Falcons.
  • The Bills are moving senior defensive assistant Al Holcomb to a position coach role. The former Panthers DC will replace Bobby Babich as Buffalo’s linebackers coach,’s Alaina Getzenberg notes. Babich is now Buffalo’s DC. Holcomb, who worked with Sean McDermott in Carolina, joined the Bills last year. The AFC East champs are also promoting Marcus West from assistant defensive line coach to D-line coach to replace Eric Washington, who became the Bears’ DC last month.

Dolphins Sign Round 2 CB Cam Smith, Finalize Draft Class Deals

Thanks to trades and a tampering penalty, the Dolphins navigated a draft light on picks. The Kansas City-based event ended up concluding with four Dolphins picks made. Miami now has each member of its rookie quartet signed.

The team reached an agreement with second-round cornerback Cam Smith, the 51st overall pick this year, on Wednesday. A South Carolina product, Smith will join an accomplished cornerback duo — Xavien HowardJalen Ramsey — as he readies for his first training camp in Miami.

More than 20 draft picks remain unsigned, with the second round comprising much of that total. While guarantee figures are largely holding up Round 2 draftees on the contract front, the Chargers coming to terms with Tuli Tuipulotu (No. 54 overall) last week likely helped move matters along. Still, the bulk of the players chosen in the 40-50 range remain unsigned. Smith’s agreement, in turn, should help clear up some terms for other teams with draftees in this neighborhood. The Nos. 50 and 52 overall picks — Packers wideout Jayden Reed and Seahawks running back Zach Charbonnet — are unsigned.

The Dolphins played all of last season without Byron Jones, who has since been released as a post-June 1 cut. This depleted Miami’s cornerback contingent, but Vic Fangio will have both Ramsey and Smith at his disposal alongside Howard. Smith totaled six interceptions and 18 pass breakups with the Gamecocks, primarily operating as the team’s nickel corner. That allowed him to live up to expectations as a former four-star recruit and solidify his status as an early-round cornerback prospect.

When Smith declared for the draft in December, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., Matt Miller and Todd McShay ranked him as the draft’s second-best corner available. But the 6-foot cover man’s stock slipped a bit leading up to the April event. By draft weekend, ESPN’s Scouts Inc. had Smith ranked 80th overall and as this prospect pool’s 15th-best corner. The multiyear SEC defender will attempt to prove the slippage was unwarranted, and he will step into a rare spot given the talents of Ramsey and Howard.

The Dolphins attempted to land a long-term slot defender in the 2020 first round, taking Noah Igbinoghene. But the Auburn alum has not carved out a regular role as a pro. Smith’s arrival may well put the fourth-year defender on shaky ground to make the 53-man roster. The Dolphins also received promising play from UDFA Kader Kohou last season, providing more protection as Fangio assembles his first Miami defense.

Trades for Ramsey, Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb — and the tampering punishment related to the Tom Brady and Sean Payton pursuits — left the Dolphins with four picks. Here is Miami’s 2023 draft class:

Round 2, No. 51: Cam Smith, CB (South Carolina) (signed)
Round 3, No. 84: Devon Achane, RB (Texas A&M) (signed)
Round 6, No. 197: Elijah Higgins, TE (Stanford) (signed)
Round 7, No. 238: Ryan Hayes, OT (Michigan) (signed)

Release Candidate: CB Noah Igbinoghene

The Dolphins’ cornerbacks room could end up looking fairly different in 2023 than it did in 2022. That’s partially because of injuries that kept players like Noah Igbinoghene, Byron Jones, and Nik Needham off the field for large portions of the year. It’s also due to the acquisition of star defender Jalen Ramsey and the use of their top draft pick on South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith.

With all the adjustments, there’s a chance that Miami may have worked themselves into a situation in which a former first-round pick doesn’t make the 53-man roster at the end of the summer. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, barring injury to his teammates, Igbinoghene may find himself to be the odd man out come final roster cuts.

Ramsey and Xavien Howard are no-brainers to make the roster, as is the rookie top pick, Smith, likely. Ramsey comes in as a three-time first-team All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler. Over his seven-year career, Ramsey has started in every game in which he’s made an appearance but one, and that one was his debut with the Rams five days after being traded from Jacksonville. Howard is a former first-team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, as well. He’s twice led the league in interceptions over his seven-year career.

Smith was a three-year starter for the Gamecocks and had experience outside and in the slot in Columbia. According to another report by Jackson, the Dolphins currently have Smith focusing on playing on the outside while trying to cut down on penalties. His versatility and ability to play in the slot, though, is a point against Igbinoghene, who was drafted to start in the slot.

After that, Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen may have earned their spots after stepping up in replacement of the injured Igbinoghene and Needham last year. As an undrafted rookie last year out of Texas A&M – Commerce, Kohou ended the season as Miami’s top-ranked cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He started 13 games for the Dolphins, appearing just over half the time in the slot. Crossen was a reliable injury replacement who contributes strongly on special teams, as well.

Of the returning injured pair, Needham has shown more in his healthy time than Igbinoghene and has had more healthy time. Needham recorded two interceptions in each of his first three seasons in the league before missing 11 games due to injury last year. He was tabbed as the starter opposite Howard when Jones was expected to be out for the year. Miami re-signed him to a one-year deal this offseason after placing a second-round restricted free agent tender on him.

Igbinoghene struggled to stay healthy in his sophomore season, as well, missing 10 games. It wouldn’t reward the Dolphins much financially to waive the fourth-year player, whose fifth-year option was declined earlier this month. According to, the Dolphins would only gain about $536K in cap space while leaving about $3.04MM on the table in dead money, no matter when they waive him.

Many were a bit surprised by the use of a first-round pick on Igbinoghene to begin with. Three years later, and he hasn’t done much to inspire confidence in playing up to his draft stock. Only appearing in 32 games out of a possible 50, and making five starts, Igbinoghene has a career 29 total tackles, five passes defensed, and one interception. His injury history has contributed to the lack of production, but Igbinoghene has struggled to make the most of the opportunities he’s been given.

Regardless, the Dolphins have a logjam forming at the cornerback position. Special teams contributions will help Crossen and veteran special teamer Justin Bethel hold on to roster spots, while Ramsey, Howard, Smith, Kohou, and Needham are all expected to stay on the team. That alone would be seven roster spots dedicated to the cornerback position. Igbinoghene will need to have a strong offseason in order to prove he’s still worthy of a roster spot come August.

Latest On Ravens’ Draft Approach

Ravens fans are all too familiar with the old Ozzie Newsome effect on the first round of the draft. While the fanbase often clamored for offensive weapons for Joe Flacco, Newsome continuously left them wanting.

From 2010-2014, Newsome used Baltimore’s top picks on linebacker Sergio Kindle, cornerback Jimmy Smith, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, safety Matt Elam, and linebacker C.J. Mosley. He followed it up with two swings in 2015, using the team’s first- and second-round picks on wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Maxx Williams, respectively, but neither pick lived up to their draft stock.

Newsome shocked the world in his last draft as general manager of the Ravens back in 2018, using the team’s first four picks on offensive players Lamar Jackson, Hayden Hurst, Orlando Brown, and Mark Andrews. Since his departure, his successor, Eric DeCosta, has gone for a bit more balance, drafting each an offensive and a defensive player with the team’s top two picks each year, usually trying to add offensive weapons for Jackson like wide receiver Marquise Brown, running back J.K. Dobbins, and wide receiver Rashod Bateman.

The same is expected for Thursday, as the Ravens are reportedly “focused on adding playmakers” for Jackson, in an attempt to prove their intentions of keeping him around, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN. Many expect this to mean a wide receiver. Baltimore, as usual, has an impressive collection of tight ends in Andrews and second-year players Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar.

They also are expected to return a healthy 1-2 punch of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, both of whom have helped lead one of the league’s best rushing attacks alongside Jackson. It should be noted, though, that Graziano’s comment about adding playmakers was in reference to Texas running back Bijan Robinson. He believes that, if Robinson begins to slide further and further back in the first round towards the Ravens’ No. 22 pick, DeCosta may make a move to trade up and nab another playmaker to support Jackson.

On the other side of the spectrum, Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post confirms that the Ravens are looking to trade in the draft, he just believes it will happen in the opposite direction. La Canfora bluntly states, “The Ravens are shopping this pick.” Granted his mock draft has them trading back one spot to No. 23, he could still be right about the team’s intentions.

Trading back out of the first round was a staple of the Newsome era, usually as a way to acquire more draft capital, something the Ravens lack after the Roquan Smith trade and a move up in last year’s draft to select tackle Daniel Faalele. While DeCosta hasn’t recently shown the same affinity for middle-round draft pick acquisitions, this may be the perfect time for DeCosta to steal a move from his old mentor.

As for what the Ravens would look for when shopping the pick, there’s two likely possibilities. The first of which is congruent with their current needs. If they still desire a young cornerback, there are strong second- or third-round options at the position like South Carolina’s duo of Darius Rush and Cam Smith or Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson.

The second option is a result of this year’s talent-pool. It’s been no secret that the 2023 draft class is not considered especially deep. The Ravens may have the intention of selling their top pick this year in order to acquire much more capital for a draft next year that is projected to have a bit more talent.

With the draft officially less that 24 hours away, we won’t have long to wait and see what happens. Whether Baltimore follows old Newsome tactics of taking the best player available regardless of position, taking a defensive player like a cornerback to replace free agent Marcus Peters, trading back, or even if they take Jackson’s contract negotiations into consideration and go after weapons for the young quarterback, there are options aplenty.

Titans Host DE Keion White, WR Zay Flowers, CB Cam Smith

With the deadline for pre-draft visits approaching, teams around the league continue to do as much homework as possible on prospects they could be in range to select. For the Titans, that process has included hosting high-end players on both sides of the ball.

Tennessee recently met with defensive end Keion White and wide receiver Zay Flowers, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter links). White is one of the more intriguing members of this year’s edge rushing class, one which is thought to have a number of potential first-rounders beyond the likes of Will Anderson, Tyree Wilson, Nolan Smith and Lukas Van Ness.

White began his college career at Old Dominion after operating as a two-way player at the high school level. He played tight end in 2018, but then switched to defensive end full-time the following season. His 19 tackles for loss in 2019 led to heightened expectations upon his transfer to Georgia Tech. As a member of the Yellow Jackets, he put himself in the first-round conversation with 7.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss during the 2022 campaign.

Those figures could be a sign of things to come as the 6-4, 267-pounder is still relatively early in his time spent exclusively as a pass rusher. The Titans could be in the market for a high-end addition in that department, after moving on from veteran Bud Dupree earlier this offseason. Tennessee ranked 18th in the league in sacks in 2022, and is in need of long-term edge producers to compliment defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who is in the team’s plans for the foreseeable future.

Likewise, a receiver addition early in the draft would come as no surprise. The Titans struggled in the passing game last season as they began life after A.J. Brown. They used a first-round pick on Treylon Burks in 2022, but more additions should be expected as they look to take a step forward on offense. Flowers has moved up many draft boards following a 1,000-yard campaign in 2022, and he has taken several visits with teams scattered across the first-round order.

The same is also true of cornerback Cam Smith, whom the Titans hosted (Twitter link via Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport). The South Carolina product is part of a very deep CB class, and has generated attention from several teams looking to add him in the late first or early second round. Tennessee has invested heavily at the cornerback spot recently, using first- or second-round selections on Kristian Fulton, Caleb Farley and Roger McCreary in three consecutive years. They also signed Sean Murphy-Bunting in free agency, which should give them a number of options in the secondary.

Tennessee holds the 11th overall pick, one which has been connected to a potential trade-up for a quarterback. If they stay put, though, that selection would be considered a reach for any of White, Flowers or Smith. The Titans’ next pick is No. 41, by which point any or all of them could quite possibly be off the board. If they are able land one of them, however, the team will have done its due diligence ahead of time.

Chiefs Meet With CB Cam Smith

The Chiefs are once again scheduled to have the last pick of the first round in the upcoming draft, but a number of high-end prospects will be available with the 31st selection. Kansas City could use it to add to their secondary, as they did last year.

The Chiefs hosted former South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith on a pre-draft visit recently, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). That marked the first of what will be several sit-downs with NFL teams, given Smith’s status as one of the top corners in this year’s deep class at the position.

The redshirt junior appeared in 32 contests during his college career, playing a key role in the Gamecocks’ success on the backend. Smith totaled six interceptions and 18 pass breakups, primarily operating as the team’s nickel corner. That allowed him to live up to his expectations as a former four-star recruit and solidify his status as a potential first-round pick. Competition from the likes of Devon WitherspoonChristian Gonzalez, Joey Porter Jr. and Deonte Banks, among others, could push Smith to the second round, though.

Kanas City invested heavily in their defense last year at the draft, using their first-round picks on cornerback Trent McDuffie and edge rusher George Karlaftis. The former operated as a full-time starter immediately, logging a 95% snap share in his rookie campaign. McDuffie went without an interception during both the regular and postseason, but he was a key contributors in pass coverage on a generally young backend for the Super Bowl champions.

The team’s CB group also incudes fellow 2022 draftees Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson, who each played a role alongside McDuffie and L’Jarius Sneed. The play of the younger members of the unit allowed Kansas City to trade away Rashad Fenton at the deadline, a move which leaves open a vacancy for another addition this offseason. The Chiefs have not brought in any free agent corners, but Smith will be one of many options to choose from if they wish to spend more premium draft capital at the cornerback spot later this month.

South Carolina CB Cam Smith Declares For Draft

South Carolina will say goodbye to their starting nickel cornerback as Cam Smith announced on Twitter today that he would be forgoing his senior year and declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft. The redshirt junior is the first member of the Gamecocks to make his intentions known.

Smith helped anchor a suffocating Gamecocks secondary unit that finished the regular season sixth in the nation for opposing quarterback completion percentage (53.5%). The team’s secondary will likely have a bit of a makeover next year. In addition to Smith’s departure, outside cornerback Darius Rush and free safety Devonni Reed will be out of eligibility at the end of the season. South Carolina’s other starting outside cornerback, Marcellas Dial, is also a redshirt junior who has yet to make his intentions known. Dial had a career year for the Gamecocks, leading the team in interceptions (3) and passes defensed (11) for the season, so he may also feel tempted to test his value as a pro.

Smith joined South Carolina as a member of the team’s 2019 recruiting class. Coming out of Westwood HS in Blythewood, he was a consensus four-star cornerback and the second-best recruit to come out of the Palmetto State. Smith chose South Carolina over Georgia Tech and fellow SEC competitors Georgia and Tennessee.

Smith retained the ability to redshirt his true freshman season after only appearing in three games and went on to appear in eight games in the team’s shortened 2020 season, starting three as a redshirt freshman. Smith’s redshirt sophomore season would see his most productive year as he was second on the team for interceptions (3) and led the team for passes defensed (11). He’ll leave Carolina with 91 total tackles, six interceptions, and 24 passes defensed over his career.

The 21-year-old is widely expected to be a late first- or early second-round selection this coming April. In an early look at positional prospect rankings, Smith is not as consistently ranked near the top of his position as Georgia’s Kelee Ringo, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, or Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., who recently announced his own declaration, but Smith caught the eye of ESPN’s Matt Miller, Todd McShay, and Mel Kiper, who ranked him as the second-best cornerback behind only Porter.

There’s no word yet on whether or not Smith will participate in the team’s bowl game, but if he does, he will be able to utilize that extra game, the NFL Scouting Combine, and South Carolina’s Pro Day to attempt to increase his draft stock before the first round commences.