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Ireland, Philbin discuss Dolphins Friday haul of draft talent

This is how it works: The Dolphins work the entire day at trying to improve their roster during the NFL draft and after all the rounds are complete -- rounds two and three were held Friday -- then both general manager Jeff ireland and coach Joe Philbin leave the team war room and meet with the media.

That meeting on Friday happened around 10:45 p.m. and the two men discussed the additions of Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor, Tennessee offensive lineman Dallas Thomas and Utah State cornerback Willie Davis.

This is what was said:

Jeff Ireland

(Opening remarks) – “Good evening.  So we obviously gave up the 42nd pick yesterday when we met for Dion (Jordan). So at (selection) 54 we took Jamar Taylor, a cornerback from Boise State.  Great kid.  Prototypical size and speed.  Very smart.  Very physical.  Can play inside and outside.  So we’re very happy to have him.   We took Dallas Thomas at (selection) 77 from Tennessee.  He’s played guard, he’s played tackle.  He’s very versatile.  I’ll let Coach (Joe Philbin) address where he plans on playing him.  But, you know, big, big physical kid.  I’m looking forward to having him on the team.  We traded the 82nd pick and then back into the third round with Green Bay and selected Will Davis, another cornerback out of Utah State.  Another prototypical left cornerback that can play inside and outside.  Very skilled athlete.  Doesn’t have a lot of experience.  He’s kind of been through the junior college route.  Really came on the scene this year.  Played at the Senior Bowl.  Had a great look at him there and looking forward to him to developing fast.  So at that point I will open to any questions.  Then, obviously the trade that tonight (sent), Davone Bess to Cleveland.  As I told you last night, it was kind of a dead issue as I left the building yesterday.  It heated back up again today and we went ahead and did the trade."

(On the rationale behind trading out of the third round and then later trading back into it)– “Well, we had a couple of players there and when you have a couple of players you feel like there’s value there that you know you’re going to get one so we traded back (and) picked up (an) additional fourth.  (We) saw some corners go off, you know there, and I felt like we need to go back in there and get him.  So that’s what happened.  Lost a couple of players on board at that point and felt like we needed to go back in and get him."

(On what stood out about Jamar Taylor)– “Well, like I said, he’s a great kid.  You know what you love about him is he’s very smart.  He’s very physical.  He’s got very good ball skills.  He plays with a great awareness, instinct and so just a combination of all the things he can bring the intelligence, the character, the speed, the physicality, the ball skills. Those are all things that obviously we covet in a cornerback position.  And I felt like he had those things.  Specifically after combine, I mean we put everybody on the board and so I don’t think there was anything out of the ordinary."

(On if Dallas Thomas will play guard or tackle) – “I’m going to let coach address where he’s going to play him, but I think he can play either way."

(On needing to create more takeaways and how Taylor and Will Davis will help with that)- “I think both Will and Jamar have very good ball skills.  Taylor is very physical.  He can get it out.  He can go up and get it or he can knock it out with forced fumbles and PBU’s (pass breakups) and Will, he’s kind of a very, very good at getting the ball out from a PBU standpoint.  Both those guys have very good ball skills in my opinion.  I think they’re both going to be play makers."

(On why he traded Davone Bess) – “Why trade Davone Bess? Well obviously we did some things in the offseason that made us feel a lot better about the position. I’ll let coach (Head Coach Joe Philbin) address some of the things as well, but we feel very good about the group we have with Mike (Wallace) and Brandon (Gibson) and Brian (Hartline) and Rishard (Matthews), so it felt like we had a little bit of value there that we could move on from. I wish Davone the best actually."

(On whether the Brandon Albert trade is still on the table) – “You know, never say never. I mean I don’t want to lead you guys on to anything, but I don’t think that’s going to really amount to much. I’ll give you my personal opinion. Like I said there is really nothing more to it today than there was yesterday."

(On whether Will Davis is more of a project and if he can play some safety) – “I don’t believe (so). I see Will as more of a corner. I think he can play inside and outside, but his corner skill set is probably not that of a safety. I think he is more of a corner. And is he more of a project? I think guys develop in different stages in their career. Obviously with his experience level you would think that he may be a little bit of a developmental player, but I think the guy has the skill set to play in this league. I think that with the great coaching that we have and the players around him, he will develop fast."

(On whether he feels that he has his five starters on the offensive line with Dallas Thomas now in the fold) – “Well that’s yet to be determined. He's going to be one of the guys that is competing for a spot. I feel very good about where Dallas is going to play, but coach is going to say, ‘hey it’s a competitive position,’ obviously, and we may not be done yet. We’ll see."

(On what he saw in Dallas Thomas that made him think he can help this offensive line) – “We spent a lot of time watching him play in 2011 and 2012. I personally made a school call there, and I love the versatility. In certain games he can play guard, he can play tackle. Obviously the versatility. When you see a big guy that can pull and move his feet and play guard and tackle on the left side, that’s pretty unique. So obviously the versatility was one component."

(On whether he thought he was going to revamp the defensive backfield going into tonight) – “Not necessarily. You don’t really know how the board is going to fall. Obviously I thought this was a pretty good corner draft and that’s basically how the board fell. You had some good corners on the board and they’re core positions; the corner position, the tackle position, the guard position and obviously defensive end. Again I think they are prototypical players, size players, they’re very good character guys, and they are core position players."

(On his comments earlier about there being a position that he really liked, and whether he addressed that position today or has yet to do so) – “Well today is over, and I liked today, so I’m going to like tomorrow too. But, it was a certain area of the draft that I certainly liked today for sure. It was more or less the second round, but a lot of players were picked off our board just about where we had them. It was a good day. I feel really good about it."

Joe Philbin

(On Dallas Thomas’ versatility) - “Same thing Jeff said – we watched on film both years. Obviously, this year, he primarily played at the left guard and the year before tackle. So we like his versatility. We liked his athleticism. We thought he had a pretty good technique and I think he has a bright future. He’s a fluid athlete. We like his size and we thought he was well-coached at Tennessee. So we’ll see. We’re going to start him on the left side. I’m not sure where yet. We’ve got to see how the weekend unfolds and take a look at things, but we’re excited about him."

(On how the competition Thomas faced at Tennessee helps him transition to the NFL) -  “Yeah, it’s good film to watch. We threw on last year, we watch him against South Carolina, at LSU. This year, I think we watched him against Florida, Georgia and those type of teams. You get a look at him against different fronts, different schemes. It’s a great coaches league, the SEC. So I thought we got a good look at him."

(On his thoughts on trading Davone Bess) - “I wish him the best of luck in Cleveland. He worked his tail off for us. He played well and he had a great attitude the two weeks in the offseason program and I wish him well."

(On if he doesn’t know yet where he wants Thomas to play) - “We’ll see. You’ve got to get your hands on people a little bit. We’ve seen him play both positions. I think he’s got ability at both spots. We’ll see how the depth chart unfolds."

(On if he feels good about the defensive backfield)  -  “I like the two players that we took today, absolutely. I like them a lot."

(On if Thomas is polished at both guard and tackle)- “He’s a pretty good technique player. Like I said, I think Harry Hiestand did a very good job with him. I think Sam Pittman was his line coach this year. Those guys are very, very good college football coaches and you can see that on the tape. He takes a good first step typically. He’s not perfect. He has good hand usage and we like those things about him. He moves fluidly. It doesn’t look like he’s real herky-jerky. We think he has a chance."

(On why Tennessee wouldn’t keep Thomas at tackle) - “Again, I didn’t coach Tennessee. You’d have to ask those guys."

(On if he talked to Tennessee’s coaches about why they moved Thomas around)

Philbin: “I didn’t really ask that question."

Ireland: “They had a young recruit that they really liked and they were moving him from tackle to guard as well.”

 

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