Could UDFA Storm Duck be Miami’s next undrafted gem at cornerback?

May 13, 2024

Storm Duck chose the Miami Dolphins despite offers from roughly a dozen other NFL teams.

Duke v Louisville

General manager Chris Grier and the Miami Dolphins have an eye for spotting talented undrafted free-agent cornerbacks. As rookies, Nik Needham started 11 games in 2019 and Kader Kohou 13 in 2022 — could Storm Duck be the next undrafted gem?

Duck spent four seasons playing boundary cornerback at the University of North Carolina before playing as a fifth-year senior at Louisville. He went undrafted after 27 tackles and four passes defended, but signed with the Dolphins despite offers from roughly a dozen other teams, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Miami signed former Washington Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller to start across from Jalen Ramsey after moving on from Xavien Howard after eight seasons. Kohou will again compete for the slot cornerback spot, but things get murky after that.

Needham is now cross-training at safety, Cam Smtih played 230 snaps his rookie season, and Siran Neal is more of a special teams player — opening the door for Duck. A Second-Team All-ACC selection in 2022, his big season featured 45 tackles, seven pass breakups, and three interceptions.

Duck was deemed PFF’s undrafted free agent who could make Miami’s roster, mentioning his potential as a rotational cornerback and 68.5 grade with the Cardinals last season. A long-time fan of Duck, PFF highlighted him as college football’s No. 12 cornerback entering the 2022 season despite playing just eight games between his sophomore and junior seasons.

Duck will also be competing with Isaiah Johnson, an undrafted cornerback out of Syracuse, who was a senior captain and started every game last season. Lastly, Ethan Bonner rounds out Miami’s cornerbacks hoping to land a roster spot after playing 12 snaps against the New York Jets in Week 15.

Miami has a strong one-two punch atop the depth chart in Ramsey and Fuller while Kohou earned performance-based pay bumps each of the last two seasons for exceeding expectations as a former UDFA. Even then, depth on the outside remains a priority when Eli Apple and Justin Bethel started a combined five games last season due to injuries.

There’s a path for Duck to progress and positively impact the Dolpins in 2024 and beyond, but let’s hope he isn’t thrown into the fire like Needham and Kohou in their rookie seasons.