The Miami Dolphins top draft picks last year were Dion Jordan and Jamar Taylor, and neither player was involved in much action in their rookie seasons. Taylor struggled through injuries and was bypassed for the more experienced Nolan Carroll on the depth chart, whereas the talented Jordan simply didn’t have a role on the team. It was frustrating to see a guy as talented as Jordan, who the Dolphins traded up for, go under-utilized, but we should see plenty of the Oregon Ducks standout in 2014.
Although Taylor barely played last season (didn’t even crack 50 snaps) and struggled a tad when he did play during the season and in training camp, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that the Dolphins coaching staff still likes Taylor. They believe he was significantly affected by injuries throughout the season, and a member of the coaching staff close to Jackson hinted at a big year for Taylor in 2014. The rival New England Patriots and several other teams showed interest in the Boise State product during the pre-draft process, and he projects to be a solid No. 2 CB in the pros, which is exactly the kind of player the Dolphins need to pair up with Brent Grimes (a borderline-elite player and their clear offseason priority).
As for Dion Jordan, Jackson reports that the Dolphins coaching staff would like to see him get bigger, because they want him to do a better job of defending the run. It seems like there is plenty of internal discussion regarding Jordan’s role, as some don’t believe he is worth starting at DE over Olivier Vernon, whereas others believe that Koa Misi’s excellent run defense should allow him to continue to start over Jordan at OLB.
Both discussions are interesting, especially since the Dolphins have a bigger need for help in run defense over pass rushing help. Cameron Wake and Vernon form an excellent DE duo, whereas Misi is their best run defender among players who aren’t free agents (the Dolphins are set to lose one of either Randy Starks or Paul Soliai). Jordan’s versatility at DE and OLB, as well as his pass rushing and coverage skills need to be utilized more often, especially considering where the Dolphins took him in last year’s draft and how they went about picking him (trading up). Misi and Vernon are very good players, but they need to get Jordan on the field much more often in 2014.