The 2022 NFL Draft class was dripping with talent at the cornerback position. From first-round picks Sauce Gardner and Trent McDuffie to later-round cornerbacks like Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant, there was no shortage of skilled defensive backs throughout the three days of the draft. But one of the most underrated rookie cornerbacks this season so far is a guy whose name wasn’t called in April: Miami Dolphins UDFA Kader Kohou.
As is the case with most undrafted free agents who break out, the Dolphins probably didn’t plan to have Kohou taking significant snaps. But with fellow cornerbacks Byron Jones, Trill Williams, and Nik Needham all missing significant time with injuries—Jones has yet to play a snap this year and Williams is out for the season—Kohou had to step up. And step up he has, quickly becoming a quality starter in Miami’s defensive secondary and yet another talented rookie cornerback breaking out this season.
Of the 417 defensive snaps Kohou has taken this season, 224 of them have been in coverage, and he has yet to allow a touchdown when he’s been targeted. He’s been locking down receivers all year with great footwork and press coverage technique. He’s a hard defender for receivers to shake when dropping in coverage. Kohou attributes his skills in man coverage to the defensive philosophies of his defensive coordinators in college at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
“I was blessed to be just in a man defense the whole time I was at Commerce,” Kader Kohou told The Draft Network in an exclusive interview. “We rarely played zone, so you couldn’t avoid just playing without good technique because you were playing man every play, so you had to learn the footwork.”
Don’t sleep on his ability to defend once guys have the ball in their hands, either. Whether it’s running backs after taking a handoff or wide receivers catching short passes, Kohou is a fearless and physical tackler. In his first career regular season game, he recorded a pass breakup, a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble.
Kader Kohou with a huge TFL pic.twitter.com/XrxSN5D6TM
— FinCuts (@FinCuts) September 11, 2022
DARTH KADER HIT STICK! JAELAN PHILLIPS RECOVERS pic.twitter.com/wvVSumhDlP
— josh houtz (@houtz) September 11, 2022
Those two plays showed just how much confidence Kohou has in his abilities as a tackler, something that would be impressive for any player, let alone a rookie who was once an undrafted free agent in his first career game. He attributes that confidence to all of the good reps he got ahead of the regular season.
“You can get off blocks in practice and stuff like that, but when we got to the preseason games, I started feeling like I could just tackle the same way I was tackling [at Commerce],” Kader Kohou said. “It’s really just being fearless, because if you have any doubt in your mind that you can’t do it, then you’re just going to go out there and not be able to do it.”
That fearlessness has clearly extended from his ability to tackle ball carriers to his capacity to defend passes and force incompletions in coverage. In his most recent matchup with the Browns, Kohou broke up a career-high three passes, including a couple of massive plays on fourth down in Dolphins territory, one of which sealed Miami’s victory.
Kader Kohou on 4th down. This dude went undrafted… how?!! pic.twitter.com/Juf7FsaTIO
— FinCuts (@FinCuts) November 13, 2022
Anyone who may not have known about Kohou before this year—like the 31 teams that didn’t draft or sign him—or earlier in the season is starting to learn his name now. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are reaping the benefits of finding and signing him. From his very first game, Kohou has established himself as more than just a fill-in for injured players in Miami’s secondary. So when you’re talking about all of the talented rookie cornerbacks who have broken out this year, don’t forget to mention Kohou.
- Dec 01, 2022
- Dec 01, 2022