ESPN poll ranks Xavien Howard as 3rd best cornerback in NFL

Xavien Howard and Brandon Jones Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard’s desire for a restructured contract may be warranted.

Recently, ESPN surveyed 50 league executives, coaches, players and scouts to rank the best players at their respective positions. Howard came in third among all cornerbacks.

“No wonder Howard wants a new contract,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote of Howard. “Snagging 10 picks in one season elevates you from 10th on last year’s list to the top three.

“‘He likes to put hands on people. My kind of corner,’ an AFC coordinator said.

“Howard has the press-man ability and ball production that every team covets. The All-Pro produced a league-high 20 pass deflections, using his size (6-1, 198 pounds) to fluster top receivers. He is versatile enough to jam a wideout or play Cover-2 when the defense switches things up.

“‘Instincts. Plays a lot closer on you than most, and if people test him and force him, he knows how to get his head around and finish the catch,’ an NFC personnel evaluator said. ‘He breaks so well that he cuts the route.'”

The No. 38 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft has been one of the league’s best defenders in two of the past three seasons. He led the league in passes deflected (20) and interceptions (10) last season. He was also named an All-Pro for the first time as well.

Unfortunately, the current holdout between the franchise and Howard has resulted in the 28-year-old skipping the team’s minicamp this year. He could also boycott the upcoming training camp if his desire to renegotiate his contract continues to be denied by the front office.

With the 2021 NFL season set to begin in two months, the Dolphins might need to resolve the issue sooner than later.