Getting Defensive

After making their biggest moves in free agency on offense, the Dolphins have turned around and focus their early attention in the draft on the defense. And just like there was a theme (adding playmakers) in the offensive moves, there has been one as well on defense.

Simply stated: The Dolphins have been looking to get faster and more athletic.

It makes sense when you consider that one of the criticism of last year's defense, which overall was more than respectable, was that it lacked speed.

The Dolphins' focus started with the selection of Dion Jordan third overall.

Through the fourth round, the Dolphins had made six selections and four of them were defensive players: Jordan, CB Jamar Taylor, CB Will Davis and OLB Jelani Jenkins.

Like Jordan, Taylor, Davis and Jenkins are all good athletes whose draft position was based more on physical ability than on college production.

The one exception there, to a degree, is Taylor, who had a very good career at Boise State. He actually could challenge for a starting job pretty quickly in Miami, given the fact that both Brent Grimes and Richard Marshall will be attempting to come back from season-ending injuries.

Jenkins, meanwhile, is a tremendous athlete whose speed will land him a roster spot from the start on special teams. His coverage ability could help him gain playing time on defense as well.

Davis, meanwhile, also figures to get extensive time on special teams early in his career and how much he plays on defense will be determined by how quickly he develops as a cornerback because he is raw.

The athletic stud of the group, though, obviously is Jordan, which is why the Dolphins traded up for him.

He said Saturday morning he dropped in coverage at Oregon about 30-40 percent of the time and also ran down in kickoff coverage. He did all that standing about 6-6 and around 250 pounds.

Jordan, who arrived at Oregon as a tight end before being switched to defense, indeed is a great athlete.

The draft picks will join newcomers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler, who replaced Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby at linebacker to give the defense more speed. Grimes also is a tremendous athlete should he recover fully from his Achilles injury of 2012.

Assuming the picks pan out, the Dolphins clearly will be quicker on defense in 2013 and they still have some bulk thanks to guys like Paul Soliai, Randy Starks and Jared Odrick.

A quicker defense almost invariably means one more likely to create turnovers, and that's an area where the Dolphins clearly needed improvement.

Regardless of what the Dolphins do in the last three rounds of the draft, it's clear they had a plan coming in.


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