FILM STUDY: Poling and Armstrong

The Draft is a very exciting time for fans and teams. It feels like Christmas waiting to see the new presents awaiting you. Every team has hope and every team is looking to get better. Fans are full of hope and optimism leading up to the draft and sometimes after the draft.

The excitement tends to subside after day two or after the fourth round in day three. The fifth/sixth/seventh rounds are boring for some and typically not full of the "sexy" picks that fans tend to enjoy. Although they are not "sexy" they are important pieces for teams, especially when they are developmental players and special teams additions.

Some players were lost in free agency that played a crucial role in depth and special teams. Neville Hewitt was a solid depth linebacker and a special teams player. Michael Thomas was one of the special teams captains, that will be missed. With that said, I feel as if the Dolphins did a great job of filling those voids and giving themselves developmental prospects by drafting Ohio linebacker Quentin Poling and Southern Mississippi corner back, Cornell Armstrong.

Let's take a look at the developmental ability of these two players and how that translates to special teams.

Quentin Poling Linebacker Ohio (32): 

This first play shows his explosive ability going forward. He times his blitz perfectly and hits the quarterback just as he is releasing the ball.

He has decent coverage skills as shown by the next play. He drops back into coverage and drifts towards the receiver. He is able to find the receiver by watching the quarterbacks eyes. He is in position to make a play on the ball.

Here it is again, but from the replay angle. Look how he drops back, almost like a safety in the box. 

 Talk about effort! The next two plays are the same play, but with two parts. He recognizes the play and sees a fumble and dives after the ball. Great effort, but he isn't finished.
 The Running back scoops the ball up, but notice Poling gets up and hustles to chase the ball carrier down. He hustles for over 30 yards to chase down the ball carrier. That's effort. That will make him a perfect fit on special teams.
Let's end it with a bang! Look how he starts his blitz just as the ball is being snapped. He recognizes the play and delivers a shot to stop the running back's momentum. 
Poling his not an NFL ready linebacker, but he has developmental talent and enough athleticism to push for a spot on special teams. His athleticism and effort combine for the perfect quality of a special teams linebacker. 

Cornell Armstrong Cornerback Southern Mississippi (3):

There is a lot to like about Cornell Armstrong and two of my favorite traits of his, leadership and toughness. 
This play shows both of those things. He sees the running back getting the swing pass. He is in Cover 3 and playing off the ball. He comes back to the ball and makes the tackle. A good body tackle as well. Great effort and hustle on this play. 

Leadership and toughness. He recognizes the play right away here. He signals to the linebacker just before the snap. He then crashes down and squares to the line of scrimmage. He is able to keep off the block and force the back to the sideline where his help is.
 He is a willing tackle and will play the run. Look at him read the run all the way, get to the line of scrimmage and square up for the tackle.
 Again, he comes up in run support nicely here. He comes up and makes the tackle on a running back that outweighs him by 50 pounds. That is an impressive open field tackle.

 This next play shows his coverage ability. He is in cover 3 and runs with the big receiver, Keith Gavin. Gavin runs the post route and Armstrong plays it perfectly while trailing. He times it just right and gets his hands on the ball and separates Gavin's hand's from the football.

Here it is again from the replay angle. He uses his athleticism to time his jump and NOT use the receiver as leverage to go up and get the ball. He avoids pass interference with perfect timing and not impeding the receiver to the ball.

 He likes to get hands on when he plays bump and run. He plays it well here, but big body receivers tend to get passed him at the line of scrimmage.

 Armstrong's toughness and leadership should earn him a spot on special teams. He is willing to tackle and do what is necessary. He has good athleticism and very good traits that could translate into him being a nickel corner in the very near future. His athleticism should help him find a spot on special teams to replace Michael Thomas perfectly. He can also fill the Michael Thomas role of playing the nickel corner role opposite of McCain.

I think the Dolphins did a good job of finding developmental talent in the 6th (Armstrong) 7th round (Poling) to fill in the roster and replace some of the special teams players they lost in Hewitt and Thomas.


  1. I seen these games of both these guys I think Armstrong has a chance to push the roster on the boundary if not 2018 then 2019. I think this because Lippett is coming off Achilles injury and he wasn't very fast to begin with but he was smooth and progressing fast as a press corner and had above average ball tracking and started to show route recognition. Howard only had 2 games in 2 years he actually played well if we are being honest. McTyer came on at the end of the season but got hurt Tankersley was our #1 boundary CB but got hurt McCain stepped up in Tanks spot giving McTyer the McCains spot and he did well but again like I said he got hurt. Armstrong is tough mixes it up in the run game if for whatever reason Lippett slips and Howard once again is slow out of the gate Miami finally has the bodies to make a move there McTyer would get first crack but if Lippett isn't slowed by the injury then Lippett gets first crack. I see Armstrong making roster for outside CB and I see the unsigned Jalen Davis also making roster as the Nickel backup to McCain I see Jordan Lucas not making the cut and maybe even Walt Aikens I can see Armstrong and Davis take those 2 spots on special teams year 1 and then depending on if Lippett and McCain get resigned or not Armstrong and Davis take those spots keeping salary cap down but keeping quality of play up.

  2. I see Poling and McCray making the roster replacing Mike Hull a slower smaller LB. I see the LBs that make the team are Chase Allen, Kiko Alonso, Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillian, Mike McCray and Quentin Poling if Anthony makes the roster then Miami will be cutting a LB they shouldn't or they will like how the young players developed that played last season and find a trade partner to unload Kiko Alonso for younger and more importantly cheaper as Alonso is scheduled to make $9,662,000 million for 2018 season. My issue though with Anthony and Baker is they lack instincts they get lost on there assignments which is why I hope Allen has a great leap from rookie to 2nd year as coaches and players keep saying is when you see the biggest jump for players.

  3. McCray doesn't have the athleticism that the others have, but he fits the MLB role behind McMillan as a tough physical LB. Poling I think makes the roster and has an impact on special teams. I don't think they get rid of Kiko at all. They like his leadership. I think Anthony could be traded or play out his final year in Miami. I think Anthony makes the team and McCray or Poling go to the PS
    As far as corner, Jalen Davis and Cornell Armstrong both have a chance at making the roster. Armstrong has the ability and willingness to play special teams and I think he makes an impact on special teams. Much like McTyre did last year.


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