The 25 Most Overrated Miami Dolphins in Franchise History
We won't be able to issue a verdict on Tannehill for a few years, but this debate got me thinking: Who are the most overrated players in Dolphins history?
Writing this slideshow was painful. Calling some of the most beloved players in franchise history overrated wasn't easy, but here's the list I gathered.
When Gadsden was healthy, he was virtually unstoppable. But, therein lies the problem: He was never healthy.
Gadsden spent six seasons with the 'Fins, and missed a whopping 35 games before retiring in 2003. He finished his career with a modest 227 catches for 3,252 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Just thinking about Ronnie Brown makes me nostalgic.
However, Brown's legacy exceeds his actual Dolphins career.
Browns spent six seasons in Miami, but he only managed to play a full, 16-game season once, and he only cracked the 1,000-yard rushing mark once. In retrospect, Brown's career was a bit disappointing—especially considering he was the second overall pick (and the Dolphins could've drafted Aaron Rodgers with that pick).
By conventional standards, Jim Kiick is most definitely not overrated.
He was consistently placed alongside Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris in Dolphins' lure, yet he was never on par with his two backfield mates.
In seven seasons with Miami, Kiick only registered a yards per carry average above four once, and he never ran for more than 750 yards in a season. Granted, Kiick played a secondary role, and his legend has been magnified.
Aside from that game, though, Duhe's career was mostly pedestrian.
He was constantly injured and made just one Pro Bowl—disappointing for a 13th overall draft pick.
It's tough to call Bryan Cox overrated considering he racked up 31.5 sacks in five seasons with the Dolphins. But, it's more reasonable when you consider that Cox recorded nearly half of those sacks in one season.
Cox emerged as a star in 1992, racking up 14 sacks and 127 tackles. His numbers dipped in the ensuing three seasons, though. Cox only mustered 15.5 sacks and eclipsed the 100-tackle mark just once more.
After Mark Clayton and Mark Duper retired, O.J. McDuffie became Dan Marino's favorite target. Hence, he became a face of the franchise.
McDuffie's numbers were never overwhelmingly impressive, though.
He eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiver mark just once in his eight seasons with the 'Fins. McDuffie should've posted greater numbers with Marino at the helm, but he is one of the greatest receivers in franchise history nonetheless.
Since Wes Welker has become one of this generation's most productive wide receivers, the Dolphins have taken heat for trading him away in 2006. At the time, though, it was a great deal.
Welker spent three seasons with the Dolphins, catching a measly 96 passes for 1,121 yards and one touchdown.
Yes, that's it. One touchdown. He simply didn't fit into Miami's offense.
The Dolphins received a second-round pick in exchange for Welker. This would be the equivalent of a team offering a second-round pick for a player like Brian Hartline, who has posted superior numbers than Welker did in his first three seasons.
David Woodley quarterbacked the Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII during the strike-shortened 1982 season. He stands alongside legends Bob Griese and Dan Marino as one of three quarterbacks to lead the franchise to a Super Bowl.
But, it's a stretch to say Woodley led the Dolphins to a Super Bowl. In fact, the 1982 team may have reached the promised land despite Woodley.
Although he posted an 11-3-1 record as a starter that year, Woodley threw more interceptions than touchdowns (12 TDs, 13 INTs,) and had a lousy quarterback rating of 69.8.
From 1976 through 2002, the Dolphins could not find a franchise running back. No back led the team in rushing for more than three consecutive seasons over that 26-year span, but Tony Nathan is arguably the most notable name to emerge from that roulette of players.
But even Nathan wasn't actually that great.
He spent nine years with the Dolphins and never rushed for more than 800 yards in a season. To his credit, Nathan did lead the league in yards per carry in 1981, and caught 50 passes that year as well.
Bruce Hardy never lived up to the immense hype that surrounded him as a prospect, but he spent 12 seasons with the Dolphins. Those seasons were rather uneventful, though.
He finished his Dolphins' career with just 256 receptions for 2,455 yards and 25 touchdowns. So, his average season looked something like this: 21 receptions, 204 yards and two touchdowns.
Hardy's name is a notable one, but he was never more than semi-productive for Miami.
Derrick Rodgers was a starting linebacker during a Golden Era of Dolphins defenses.
From 1997 through 2002, Rodgers played alongside the likes of Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, Tim Bowens, Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison and other studs. Rodgers may have been the weak link of those defenses, though.
He never registered more than 80 tackles in a season. Considering he played alongside so many great players, Rodgers should have capitalized more.
During the mid-2000s, the Dolphins were devoid of a great wide receiver. This opened the door for mediocre players like Randy McMichael to become focal points of Miami's offense.
McMichael was one of the Dolphins' most productive players from 2002 to 2006, but he was also notorious for dropping passes.
He never caught more than five touchdowns or accrued more than 800 receiving yards in a season.
Jimmy Johnson became the third head coach in Dolphins history in 1996, and after leading the Dallas Cowboys to a pair of Super Bowl championships, he figured to end Miami's title drought.
The Dolphins made three playoff appearances in Johnson's four-year stint, but they never advanced past the divisional round. Johnson oversaw the most embarrassing loss in team history—a 62-7 loss in the 1999 divisional playoff game.
He also engaged in a public feud with Dan Marino, and that 1999 loss to the Jaguars ended both of their careers.
Greg Camarillo was a fan favorite for his reliability, overachieving and, most importantly—saving the Dolphins from eternal damnation.
But, Camarillo never produced particularly well.
He caught a combined 113 passes and five touchdowns in five seasons with the Dolphins. Camarillo was a lovable player, but he was also an overrated one.
Joey Porter was the emotional heartbeat of Miami's 2008 playoff squad; otherwise, he was a monumental disappointment.
Prior to the 2007 season, the Dolphins signed Porter to a massive five-year, $32 million contract that included $20 million guaranteed. Set aside Porter's 17.5 sack season in 2008, and he didn't warrant such a huge deal.
Porter only registered 5.5 sacks in his first season with the 'Fins, and racked up nine in 2009 before clashing heads with Tony Sparano (via USA Today) which led to his release.
When Bill Parcells took over as the Dolphins' "Football Czar" in 2008, he was immediately hailed as a sure-fire savior. Parcells' resume was unparalleled, and every move he made was met with applause.
In retrospect, though, Parcells was horrible. And this isn't exactly a secret.
Parcells overpaid grossly for free agents like Gibril Wilson, Ernest Wilford, Reggie Torbor and Jake Grove. He also whiffed on draft busts including Chad Henne, Pat White, Patrick Turner and Phillip Merling.
Ultimately, Parcells left the Dolphins in bad shape—though they were vastly improved from when he took over—and bolted once he realized how far he set the team back.
Tony Martin spent his first four NFL seasons with the Dolphins. He was unspectacular but matured into a star with the San Diego Chargers in the mid-1990s.
Following the 1998 season, Martin was indicted on money laundering charges, and was released by the Atlanta Falcons. The Dolphins coveted Martin so much that, in the midst of his trial, signed him to $14 million contract. Dan Marino, Nat Moore and O.J. McDuffie even testified on Martin's behalf (via the New York Times).
Martin wasn't worth the trouble, though. In the 1999 and 2000 seasons, he caught a combined 93 passes and five touchdowns.
Miami's hatred for Nick Saban stems from his scummy departure. But, was it really such a tragedy that he left?
In his two seasons as the Dolphins' head coach, Saban coached the team to a 15-17 record.
He drafted poorly, too. The only notable names from Saban's two draft classes are Ronnie Brown, Channing Crowder and Matt Roth.
Saban left in the slimiest manner possible, but his departure might have been a blessing in disguise.
Mention Larry Izzo's name to a Dolphins fan, and, odds are, he'll throw his hands up in the air and rant about Miami castoffs signing with the Patriots and winning Super Bowls.
Izzo left the Dolphins after the 2000 season, signed with New England and won three Super Bowl championships.
However, Izzo wasn't a marquee player. He was an ace special teamer—that's it. Izzo didn't factor into Miami's defense, and his biggest moment with the Dolphins was a 26-yard fake punt run.
Prior to joining the Dolphins in 1992, Bernie Parmalee spent his time unloading UPS trucks, according to Sports Illustrated.
Once Parmalee finagled his way onto Miami's roster, he instantly became a fan favorite and led the team in rushing in 1994 and 1995.
As a whole, however, Parmalee's career was unspectacular. Aside from the '94 and '95 seasons, and Parmalee registered just four starts and received just 61 carries.
Today, Scott Mitchell is most definitely not regarded as an overrated player.
But, following the 1993 season, he was wildly—this can't be understated—overrated.
When Dan Marino tore his Achilles' tendon, Mitchell was tabbed to fill in, and he did so admirably. He completed 133 of 233 passes for 1,773 yards and tossed 12 touchdowns in seven starts. Most impressively, Mitchell posted an 84.2 passer rating, which ranked fifth in the AFC.
Desperate for a quarterback, the Detroit Lions swooped in and signed Mitchell to a three-year, $11 million deal.
And, well, things didn't go so well.
Don Strock spent 14 years with the Miami Dolphins—all as a backup quarterback.
When Strock was called upon, he never disappointed. He started 20 games in those 14 seasons, accruing an impressive 14-6 record.
Although Strock was an uncannily reliable backup, he wasn't all that remarkable when he played. Strock finished his Dolphins' career with a quarterback rating of 73.5 (not good), and threw almost as many interceptions as touchdowns (45 TDs, 42 INTs).
Terrell Buckley ranks sixth on the Dolphins' all-time interceptions list, but his stats don't tell the whole story.
Opposing offenses frequently abused Buckley, who often played too aggressively as he hawked for interceptions.
Buckley acknowledged his miscues, though.
Following a Week 5 loss to the Jaguars in 1998, he admitted "I basically lost the game," according to the Sun Sentinel. Mark Brunell would also target Buckley in Miami's 1999 divisional playoff round loss to the Jags, which has to be one of the worst performances of Buckley's career.
Maybe it's because he was vastly overrated.
When the Dolphins traded for Marshall in 2010, he was arguably the league's best wideout. Jeff Ireland made him one of highest paid wide receivers in NFL history, and he figured to become the dominant wideout Miami lacked for so many years.
Granted, Marshall was hindered by poor quarterback play, so he never even came close to living up to his contract. He dropped a combined 23 passes in his two seasons with the 'Fins, which is flat out inexcusable.
From 1996 to 2001, Daryl Gardener partnered with Tim Bowens to form one of the NFL's most fearsome interior defensive lines.
Although Gardener was a great player on the field, he was a cancer in the locker room. He was "known as boastful and moody" via the Sun Sentinel, and once got into a fist fight with O.J. McDuffie. The Dolphins, fed up with Gardener's antics, released him prior to the 2002 season.
Once Gardener left Miami, his career soon dissolved. He spent the 2002 season with the Redskins, and then signed a seven-year, $34.8 million deal with the Broncos—a move Denver would immediately regret. Gardener tore a ligament in his wrist during a fight outside of an IHOP, and played just five games for the Broncos.
In retrospect, Gardener might owe his success in Miami to Tim Bowens, one of the best defensive players in Dolphins' history.