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Miami Dolphins adopt a defensive strategy with NFL draft picks

For the Dolphins, the second night of the NFL Draft was as much about saying goodbye as it was hello.

First the additions: two cornerbacks and a potential starting offensive tackle.

But there was major subtraction. Miami dealt Davone Bess — a starting receiver and locker room fixture — to the Cleveland Browns for draft picks.

“Davone was a consummate professional on the field and a model representative of the team off it through all of his charitable activities,” said Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland in a released statement.

Said Dolphins coach Joe Philbin: “We wish him the best of luck in Cleveland. He worked his tail off here.”

Bess’ news was, in part, overshadowed by who the Dolphins added Friday night: corners Jamar Taylor (Boise State) and Will Davis (Utah State) and offensive lineman Dallas Thomas (Tennessee).

Taylor went in the second round, and Thomas and Davis were third-round selections.

In all, the Dolphins made three trades Friday: the Bess deal, plus both out of, and then back into, the third round.

Ireland didn’t make the most scrutinized move of the weekend, however: trading for Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert.

Despite speculation that Ireland might send the 54th pick to Kansas City for Albert, Ireland stood pat and took Taylor.

“I don’t think that’s going to amount to much,” Ireland said of a possible deal for Kansas City’s left tackle late Friday. “There’s nothing more to it tonight than there was yesterday.”

To hear Taylor put it, the Dolphins got a steal.

“I thought I was going to be drafted [Thursday],” Taylor said. “But God had a plan for me. I’m happy I’m a Dolphin.”

About an hour later, the Dolphins potentially found their solution at tackle. Thomas is 6-5 and 300 pounds, and has the ability to play either tackle or guard.

Philbin was noncommittal about what position Thomas would play, only saying that he would start out on the left side.

“I can do it all,” Thomas said. “I can play left or right. It’s up to coach, wherever he wants me to.”

After selecting Thomas, Ireland really started wheeling and dealing. First, he traded his second third-round pick — 82nd overall — to New Orleans for two fourth-round picks (106th and 109th).

But he wasn’t done, slipping back into the third round to get Davis, thanks to a trade with the Packers.

The Dolphins gave Green Bay picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds for the Packers’ selection at 93.

Davis, a 5-11, 186-pounder who ran a 4.4-second 40, had hoped to end up in Miami, but was discouraged when he saw the Dolphins trade back.

And yet his phone rang nonetheless late Friday, a call he was “shocked” to receive.

“I’ve got ball skills, I’m athletic. I’m a quick learner,” said Davis, who had five interceptions as a senior. “I’m able to make a lot of plays.”

In return for Bess, the Dolphins got the Browns’ picks in the fourth (104th overall) and fifth (164th) rounds, while shipping Miami’s picks in the fourth (111th) and seventh (217th) rounds to Cleveland.

Bess’ story is one of perseverance. Big schools overlooked him because of his size (5-10, generously) and his checkered past (he spent more than a year at a juvenile facility as a kid after running afoul of the law).

But he got a shot at Hawaii and flourished. Bess went undrafted out of college, but earned a training camp shot with the Dolphins. Five years later, he has nearly 3,500 career receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Bess also emerged as one of the most likeable people in the Dolphins’ locker room.

But when the Dolphins signed Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson in free agency, Bess appeared to be the odd man out. He was set to make more than $2.6 million in base salary this fall — a steep price for a guy who would probably struggle to see the field.

In Cleveland, he gets a fresh start, and a little more financial security. As part of the deal, Bess agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Browns.

While the Dolphins have a glut at receiver, cornerback had remained a position of need, even with the recent signing of Brent Grimes. Taylor, a 5-11, 192-pound defensive back, said he can play both man coverage and zone. He ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, following up a senior year in Boise in which he had four interceptions and 51 tackles.

“I play with a swagger,” Taylor said. “I’m kind of chippy. I like to talk stuff.”

The Taylor pick was in essence a straight-up trade for Vontae Davis. The Dolphins received the pick from Indianapolis in the swap for Davis last summer. Miami had dealt its other second-rounder (42nd overall) to Oakland Thursday to get Jordan.

The Dolphins will have five picks Saturday: two in the fourth round, two in the fifth and one in the seventh.

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