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Three quick hits on the Miami Dolphins:
1. We haven't heard the last from Jason Taylor.
Many observers figured last year's uninspiring season with the Washington Redskins signaled the beginning of Taylor's decline. He missed three games because of a freaky calf injury, started only eight games and recorded a measly 3.5 sacks. He generated interest from the New England Patriots, so maybe that should have been a sign he had something left. But when he signed with the Dolphins he wasn't expected to be an every-down player. He would have to share snaps with incumbent strong-side outside linebacker Matt Roth and CFL import Cameron Wake. But Taylor has looked more like a six-time Pro Bowler than washed up. He and Joey Porter seem to be engaging each other as spiritual leaders of a defense with a chip on its shoulder. Roth's mysterious unavailability (injured? ill? contract?) has eased Taylor's return.
2. Sean Smith is better than even the Dolphins thought.
If the Dolphins knew the 6-foot-3 cornerback from Utah would emerge so quickly as starter material, they might not have drafted Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis with the 25th overall pick. The Dolphins' scouting department obviously had an idea Smith would be good. They selected him with their second pick of the second round. They loved his size for covering big receivers such as Randy Moss and Terrell Owens -- someday. But he might be pulling that duty sooner than projected as the right-side starter. Smith quickly surpassed Davis on the depth chart and has looked remarkable enough that the Dolphins cut veteran cornerback Eric Green, who they'd brought in as a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals.
3. Can Ted Ginn play like a lottery pick?
I realize that the NFL doesn't have a lottery draft, but if Ginn were a $5 scratch-off ticket he'd be a $3 winner. The ninth overall selection of the 2007 draft hasn't been lousy, but he hasn't been worth the investment either. The front office -- not the one that drafted him -- hopes he will blossom into something more than he has been. He was an electrifying return man at Ohio State but hasn't been able to convince the Dolphins to let him do it for them. He's listed at 5-foot-11. He avoids contact and runs out of bounds too quickly to ever be considered physical. But he does possess stunning speed they don't have elsewhere. If their first preseason game is any indication, the Dolphins would love to feed Ginn the ball. If he doesn't produce anything substantial in his third NFL season, he will go down as one of the biggest busts in Miami history.