Sean Smith is gone. Vontae Davis was traded last year. Richard Marshall was inconsistent. Nolan Carroll looked like Ahmad Carroll. Enter Jamar Taylor.
It was clear Miami needed to address the cornerback position this offseason, and they have done just that. Brent Grimes signed on to a one-year deal, and Jeff Ireland followed that up by taking one of the top cornerbacks in the draft class.
He got him with the same pick he acquired for Davis.
The beauty of the pick is that the Dolphins can bring Taylor along slowly. Grimes and Marshall figure to be the starters, and Dimitri Patterson should be the nickel back.
If the Dolphins choose to cut Patterson due to the $4.5 million he is owed this year, Taylor could slide into that role. But it is more likely Jimmy Wilson would start as the slot corner.
Taylor will likely be a special teamer for Miami out of the gate, barring cuts and injuries.
Right now Taylor fits in just behind Patterson on the depth chart, possibly fighting Jimmy Wilson for that fourth cornerback role. That is subject to change.
Patterson was actually not bad for the Dolphins after getting dumped by the Eagles and Browns. The question is not whether he would fit in with Miami's defense, it's whether his salary fits under the cap.
Not only is Patterson due $4.5 million this year, he is on the books for another $5.3 million in 2014. With looming cap space crunch, Patterson could be a cap casualty sooner than later.
If Miami chooses to keep Patterson, that gives the team flexibility to move Wilson over to safety, a position for which he might be better suited.
As for scheme fit, Taylor is an excellent match. His skills translate better to Kevin Coyle's defense, making him a better fit than Sean Smith ever would have been.
Here is what Bleacher Report's Ryan Lownes had to say about the rookie:
A versatile player capable of handling a variety of roles on defense, Taylor is not a cornerback limited by scheme. Not only does he have experience in both man and zone coverage, but he disguises the blitz well and can make an impact behind the line of scrimmage.
In the NFL, he fits best in a defensive system that features him in off-man coverage. Not only is he physical enough to match up with receivers at the next level, he is also fluid enough to cover outside or in the slot. He projects as a starting cornerback that could make an early impact due to his strong understanding of the game.
Taylor's scheme versatility is going to pay long-term dividends for Miami.
Given Miami's relative depth at the position, it seems Taylor's rookie production will be minimal, even if he gets on the field as a nickel back.
The likelihood is he will garner many of his statistics in the special teams game. Over the long haul, though, Taylor figures to amass some nice totals on defense. Here are his stats from his tenure at Boise State:
There was a clear jump during his senior year, a fact he acknowledged when talking to reporters after being drafted.
"I was OK and OK and then I kind of took off," Jamar Taylor said. "I feel like I was overlooked a lot, but it is what it is....— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 27, 2013
The Dolphins got their draft off to a hot start by bolstering their pass rush, and they continued it by adding depth and speed to their secondary.
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