Originally written on Phins Phocus  |  Last updated 11/14/14
In the first three years of his young NFL career, Miami Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith performed well below the expectations that came when he was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft. The standout cornerback out of Utah put up mediocre numbers to say the least as he recorded 152 combined tackles and three interceptions while not being able to produce a single quarterback sack or forced fumble. Prior to the start of the Dolphins 2011 campaign, Vontae Davis went out on a limb and claimed that the duo of Smith and himself was the best cornerback tandem in the league. As we all know, Vontae Davis was dealt to the Colts following a disappointing training camp this past August leaving Sean Smith with the responsibility of covering the opposing teams' top wide recievers.Five weeks into the 2012 season, it is evident that Sean Smith has turned a corner in his career and is developing into an elite cornerback. Smith's drastic improvements are in large part due to the fact that he is finally being utilized correctly in new defensive cordinator Kevin Coyle's system. As it turns out, Coyle was very fond of Smith in his days with the Cincinnati Bengals and targeted the 6 foot 3, 218 pound defensive back in the 2009 draft. He was intrigued by Smith's great leverage, great length and speed however the team opted to look elsewhere with the 38th overall pick.Coyle has played Smith to his strengths rather than his weaknesses and has ensured the 25 year old be put in a position to succeed. It's the small details that have made a difference such as utilizing his height to his advantage and attacking the ball at its highest point. Not only has Smith's play improved, his confidence has done the same as he has insisted on covering pro bowl wide recievers Larry Fitgerald and AJ Green in Miami's past two games. In Arizona, Smith held Fitzgerald to eight catches for 64 yards along with producing two interceptions. He followed that up by holding Green to 65 yards on nine catches in arguably the best game of his career a week ago.Smith's success against these wideouts have him ranked as the 16th best cornerback in the league by Pro Football Focus. When throwing in Smith's direction, quarterbacks have only managed to complete 47.8 percent of their passes which stacks up as 14th in the NFL. The 66.5 quarterback rating he has surrendered is 21st among players at his position. Although Smith has impressed through five games, the Dolphins pass defense as a unit has been less than spectacular. In the team's first four matches, their pass defense ranked 30th in the league while allowing 297.8 yards a game through the air. For the first time all year, the entire defense played significantly well as a whole in the win against the Bengals. Both Nolan Carroll and Reshad Jones stepped up with key performances including a game sealing interception from Jones in the last minute of the fourth quarter. The unit's improved play has resulted in a 4 spot increase to their overall ranking to 26th in the league along with their 54.7 opponents completion percentage which ranks third. With CB Richard Marshall ruled out for Sunday, the Dolphins secondary will have to come up big once again in order for Miami to improve their record to 3-3 heading into the bye. Sean Smith looks to be in the midst of a breakout season and if he continues to record stellar numbers, he may find himself playing in his first pro bowl. With Smith in a contract year, the Dolphins have some tough decisions to make about the cornerback's future in Miami.  

Fans struck by lightning after Buccaneers-Packers game

Report: Philip Rivers playing through painful back injury

Report: Bears could have interest in Jim Harbaugh

Report: Shanahan interested in coaching next season

Report: Michigan has its eye on several NFL coaches

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade


Phillies GM told Ryan Howard team is better off without him

Report: Browns interested in drafting Marcus Mariota

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

WATCH: Dominic Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

WATCH: Arian Foster throws TD pass, drops scoreboard taunt

WATCH: Johnny Manziel leaves with injury after taking big hit

NHL has warned 22 players about diving

Nick Mangold wears NYDP hat to honor fallen officers

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

WATCH: South Alabama coach bloodied after kick to the face

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

Bears interested in Jim Harbaugh?

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.