This one was to plug a hole.
This one — to echo one of Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland’s mantras — was about “marrying need to value.”
This wasn’t about luxury.
The Dolphins made Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor their second-round pick Friday night in the NFL draft, and the truth of the matter is that he might be a starter sooner than Miami’s first-round selection will be.
That’s not to denigrate Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, who was that first-round choice Thursday night. That’s not it at all.
But the Dolphins are in more of a bind at cornerback, where they lost starter Sean Smith to Kansas City in free agency after last season, than they are at defensive end, where returnees Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick likely will be starters. Jordan projects as a third-down specialist, at least for now.
So, sure, it’s a matter of circumstance to a significant degree.
It’s easy to quibble, too, that Miami could have — should have? — used the 54th overall selection, with which it landed Taylor, differently. The Dolphins could have — should have? — used it in a trade to obtain Kansas City left tackle Branden Albert. Had they consummated that deal, the Dolphins would have filled their most important hole of all, which was created by the free-agency departure of one-time star Jake Long to St. Louis.
“I don’t think that’s going to amount to much,” Ireland said.
It’s also noted that Miami took Tennessee guard/tackle Dallas Thomas in the third round … and then backed up the Thomas pick by grabbing Utah State cornerback Will Davis later in that round.
But what remains at the crux of the Dolphins’ situation now is the notion that Taylor could be more immediately important to them than Jordan might be.
“He plays with great awareness and instinct,” Ireland said. “All the things we covet in a cornerback.”
Taylor, who’s 5-feet-10 and 192 pounds, said during a conference call that he feels like he plays with “a dog in me.” Mean, he meant, not lazy.
“If you look at (my career), I was OK and OK, and then I took off,” Taylor said. “I feel like I was overlooked a lot. I’ve still got a chip on my shoulder.
“I play with a swagger. I’m kind of chippy. I like to talk stuff. I like to keep a smile on my face. I’m someone who plays real aggressive and lets you know what I’m doing.”
How the “chippy” act and the talking might sit with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin will be an interesting study. As it stands at the moment, though, it’s Taylor who is Miami’s most intriguing possibility to be a rookie starter.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have several picks in the fourth through seventh rounds of the draft Saturday.
They’ve been bold so far.
They traded the 12th pick in the first round plus a second-rounder to Oakland to move up to the third spot to get Jordan in what was an aggressive move. And it’s fine if the Dolphins consider Jordan a developmental project, because he’s more about future value than present need.
Next, here came Taylor carrying all kinds of dreams.
Asked what his strengths are, Taylor, without sounding smug, said, “Being able to play man defense, being able to play zone defense and just playing smart. I’m not afraid to tackle.”
How soon can he be as good as or better than Smith?
The answer will have something to do with the Dolphins’ progress. They’ve played a high-risk game with a well-documented roster turnover since the end of last season. And they’re probably hoping Taylor turns out as well as a couple of other cornerbacks Miami selected in back-to-back second rounds in the late 1990s.
Those would be guys named Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain.
If Taylor is of either’s ilk, it would be more than a sound return for the Dolphins on this investment.