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Tony Lippett: 5 things to know about the Giants’ new cornerback

Ex-Dolphin has been on the team’s radar for a while

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Tony Lippett
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get to know more about Tony Lippett, the former Miami Dolphins cornerback the New York Giants added to the roster after trading Eli Apple to the New Orleans Saints.

What we already knew

Lippett was a 2016 fifth-round pick by Miami after playing both wide receiver and defensive back at Michigan State. He was a starter for the Dolphins in 2016, but suffered an Achilles tendon tear that cost him the 2017 season. Former Miami defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo coached Lippett with the Dolphins and is now in that role with the Giants.

New things to know

The first is that the Giants have been eye-balling Lippett since an early-season workout when coach Pat Shurmur said the 26-year-old wasn’t quite far enough along in his recovery to be signed. Shurmur, in fact, has been keeping track of Lippett since his college days.

Here is what Shurmur told Michael Eisen of the team’s official website in their weekly exclusive interview:

“I know Tony well. He played at Michigan State and he was a wide receiver/corner and kind of a two-way player. Played two positions throughout his time at Michigan State, so I did a lot of work on him when he was coming out. Liked him quite a bit. He’s long, he’s got good length for a corner, which helps him in bump and run. He’s coming off of an (Achilles tendon) injury. We’ll get a chance to see what he can do in practice and where he’s at coming back. But he’s a talented young man and we’re glad to add him to the roster.”

The next four come from questions I asked Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider, SB Nation’s Dolphins website.

Ed: Why did the Dolphins cut him?

Kevin: I think it simply came down to numbers and his injury. Returning from a Achilles tear is tough for any player, but for a cornerback, it is so much more difficult. He was supposed to contend for a starting role this year, and I think they just did not see the response they wanted over the summer.

Ed: If he’s healthy, can he be a quality NFL corner?

Kevin: Absolutely. He was a developmental project for the Dolphins, moving from receiver to defensive back, but he absolutely has the skills and instincts to play the position. He is not going to be a Pro Bowl, shutdown corner, but he is definitely a guy who can play the position and be a really good starter. With the “healthy” piece as a major caveat.

Ed: Is he more an outside guy? Slot guy? Both?

Kevin: He is probably more of an outside corner, but I wouldn’t rule him out as a nickel. He has the speed and size to be a really good cornerback and, as he has developed his technique, he has shown that he is growing into the outside role well. If he hadn’t torn his Achilles, I believe he would be the starting corner opposite Xavien Howard this year.

Ed: Anything else we should know about him?

Kevin: He really is a do everything type of player - similar in mold to Michael Thomas in that sense. He has to prove that he is healthy and that he mentally over the Achilles, but if he is, the Giants found a good in-season addition.