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Veteran LB Taylor, rookies are the stars at Dolphins' scrimmage

DAVIE, Fla. -- Veteran linebacker Jason Taylor and some of the Miami Dolphins' top draft picks made the biggest plays in the intrasquad scrimmage Saturday.

That was a good thing for Pat White and Sean Smith but not for cornerback Vontae Davis.

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Davis, the Dolphins' first-round pick from Illinois, struggled on his first play when he bit on a double move by fellow draft pick Brian Hartline. The fourth-round choice from Ohio State got 5 yards behind Davis before catching a deep pass from quarterback Chad Henne.

"It happens to everybody, it happens to the best," Davis said. "I feel like I learned from my mistake."

That play was one of about 90 in the scrimmage in front of a crowd of about 3,000. Also in attendance were a group of former Dolphins players.

Also during the scrimmage, Taylor got to Henne for what would have been a sack, and his pressure also hurried two other passes, including a Ted Ginn Jr. throw that was intercepted.

Taylor refused to get overly excited about his strong showing.

"This is practice," he said. "I don't want to sound like Allen Iverson or anything, but this is practice. It is a whole different ballgame come game day. But I know I can do that."

Coach Tony Sparano referred to the practice session as a "standup scrimmage," with contact involved but no tackling.

The Dolphins' three quarterbacks took turns running a series of usually nine or 10 plays. Starter Chad Pennington ran two series, and Henne and White each ran four.

Smith, a cornerback from Utah drafted in the second round, came up with the only turnover of the scrimmage when he intercepted Ginn in the end zone on a flanker option. The long pass was intended for running back Ronnie Brown, who was covered downfield by nose tackle Paul Soliai. Ginn's pass was slightly underthrown, and Smith jumped in front of Brown to make the interception.

"I saw Sean make a nice play on the ball on the little throwback pass we had there, and that's something he does pretty well," Sparano said. "He's got outstanding ball skills. He's a long guy, so when the ball's in the air, he can get up and he can get it, and that's part of big corner, big receiver."

White, a second-round pick out of West Virginia, began the last series of the scrimmage by completing a long pass to Anthony Armstrong, who beat former first-round pick Jason Allen. White also threw the only touchdown pass of the scrimmage to rookie free-agent wide receiver Chris Williams, who caught the ball after first juggling it.

But it was an up-and-down scrimmage for White. He misfired by a wide margin on a few throws and also mishandled a snap, forcing him to fall on the ball to avoid a turnover.

Among the Dolphins' other six draft picks, fifth-round choice John Nalbone had the best day. The tight end from Monmouth caught a couple of passes that were tipped before they got to him.

Taylor wasn't the only linebacker who made plays during the scrimmage. Erik Walden and Charlie Anderson both had what would have been sacks, and Anderson also broke up a pass. Quentin Moses also broke up a couple of passes.

"I was happy, first of all, with the energy that both groups brought out there after 10 or so practices," Sparano said. "We had a couple of mental errors that might have occurred down there on both sides of the ball occasionally, so those are some things that we've got to clean up."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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