DAVIE (AP) — Eager to force more turnovers, the Miami Dolphins drafted two cornerbacks Friday with a knack for interceptions.
Miami added Jamar Taylor of Boise State in the second round, then traded up to select Will Davis of Utah State in the third round. Taylor made four interceptions last year and Davis had five, while the Dolphins totaled only 10 to tie for fourth-worst in the NFL.
“Both Will and Jamar have very good ball skills,” general manager Jeff Ireland said. “Taylor is very physical. He can go up and get it, or he can knock it out. Will is very good at getting the ball out too. I think they’re both going to be playmakers.”
A dearth of takeaways contributed to the Dolphins’ 7-9 record, and they’ve devoted three of their four picks so far to changing that. Pass rusher Dion Jordan of Oregon was their first-round choice Thursday.
On the second day of the draft, Miami also added guard-tackle Dallas Thomas of Tennessee and dealt away receiver Davone Bess. The Dolphins made three trades involving draft picks and now have five in the final four rounds Saturday.
Bess is under contract for $3.4 million this year, and became expendable when the Dolphins acquired free agent receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson.
“We did some things in the offseason that made us feel better about the position,” Ireland said. “We feel very good about the group we have.”
While tackle was considered the Dolphins’ most pressing need, their early focus was on defense. Taylor, the 54th overall selection, was a three-year starter at Boise State, and his 40-yard dash time of 4.39 was among the fastest at the NFL Scouting Combine.
As the third round wound down, Ireland decided one rookie cornerback wasn’t enough. He traded with Green Bay to acquire the 93rd overall pick and took Davis, a two-year starter at Utah State.
The Dolphins gave the Packers three picks Saturday — the 109th, 146th and 224th.
Taylor and Davis will compete for a starting job after the departure of Sean Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs via free agency.
“I’m just going to try to contribute the best way I can,” Taylor said. “I’m happy to be a Dolphins, and man, I can’t even explain it right now.”
Davis, who broke up 17 passes last season, said the Dolphins are correct that he has a nose for the ball.
“I think that’s one thing I’ve got above a lot of people,” Davis said. “I know at the combine I showed it.”
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Thomas was the 77th overall selection. He started at left tackle for two seasons with Tennessee but switched to guard as a senior, and he said he’s flexible regarding his position.
“I can do it all,” he said. “I can play left or right. It’s just up to coach. I’m just happy I got picked.”
Miami is in the market to replace Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long, who departed to the St. Louis Rams via free agency. But Ireland and coach Joe Philbin were coy about their plans for Thomas.
“I love the versatility,” Ireland said. “We see a big guy who can pull and move his feet and play guard and tackle on the left side. That’s pretty unique.”
Miami moved up nine spots to No. 3 overall to draft Jordan, trading the 42nd overall pick to Raiders. Oakland coincidentally used that pick on a tackle — Florida State’s Menelik Watson.
If the Dolphins had kept the No. 12 overall pick, a team official said, they would have taken Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert.
As part of the Bess trade, Miami and Cleveland swapped picks. The Dolphins acquired the Browns’ fourth-round choice (104th overall) and fifth-round choice (164th overall) and gave up their fourth-round choice (111th overall) and seventh-round choice (217th).
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