Four years after using their first two picks of the NFL draft on cornerbacks — and less than one year since moving past both of those players — the Dolphins tried again Friday night, selecting another pair of cornerbacks, Boise State’s Jamar Taylor and Utah State’s Will Davis.
Miami selected Taylor in the second round, 54th overall, and after a complicated trade with Green Bay, took Davis in the third round, 93rd overall.
In other moves Friday, the Dolphins traded veteran slot receiver Davone Bess to Cleveland, used their first pick in the third round on offensive tackle Dallas Thomas of Tennessee and traded their second pick in that round to New Orleans for a pair of fourth-rounders.
Just as activity was drawing to a close, Miami traded picks 109 (fourth round), 146 (fifth) and 244 (seventh) to the Packers for the opportunity to pick Davis.
The draft concludes with rounds 4-7 beginning today at noon. Miami still has five picks remaining: two in the fourth round, two in the fifth and one in the seventh.
The Dolphins hoped they might be set for a decade at both corners when they picked Vontae Davis and Sean Smith 1-2 in 2009. When Davis was traded to Indianapolis during last year’s training camp and Smith was allowed to leave for Kansas City last month in free agency, corner became a major need.
Taylor (5-foot-10, 192 pounds) was a three-year starter for Boise State and became the sixth defensive back drafted out of that program in the past eight years. He was a first-team All-Mountain West selection last season as the leader of a secondary that finished fifth in the nation in pass defense, allowing an average of 169.5 yards per game.
Taylor said he had an excellent meeting with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland at the NFL scouting combine and stayed in touch with Miami officials throughout the draft process.
“I’m happy to be down there,” he said. “I’m happy to be a Dolphin. Man, I can’t even explain it right now.”
Davis, a 5-11, 182-pounder from Spokane, played two years with Western Washington and De Anza College in Northern California before moving on to Utah State in 2011, then made All-WAC Conference and was named third-team All-America in 2012.
“Every level I’ve been, I’ve been one of the best players,” Davis said.
Ireland described both players as “prototypical cornerbacks” and said both could play both inside and outside. Of the two, he indicated that Davis could be more of a project due to his inexperience.
Miami’s top players at corner are free-agent signee Brent Grimes and veteran Richard Marshall, who played sparingly due to a back injury last year, and Nolan Carroll, who has played unevenly when given the opportunity.
Offensive tackle was widely recognized as the team’s greatest need entering the draft — left tackle Jake Long left in free agency — and the Dolphins hope they found a long-term answer in Thomas, a 6-5, 310-pounder from Baton Rouge, La.
A three-year starter, Thomas played left tackle his first two years before moving to left guard as a senior, where he made second-team All-America. In 37 games, he was charged with just two sacks.
Thomas said he was willing and able to play left or right tackle, leaving the decision to the coaching staff where to use him and second-year man Jonathan Martin, who played both sides last season.
Bess’ departure had been rumored for weeks after Miami signed receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson in free agency.
Bess has been durable for most of his five-year career, but he was perceived to have had a falling-out with the coaching staff when he missed the final three games of last season due to a back injury. While he had excellent hands, his lack of explosiveness — as demonstrated by the fact he scored just 12 TDs in five years, including one last year — wore thin.
The Dolphins moved up in the draft only marginally as a result of the Bess trade. Miami got Cleveland’s fourth- and fifth-round picks and sent the Browns their fourth and a seventh-rounder.