Ranking Miami Dolphins' 10 Worst NFL Draft Picks in Team History
Any NFL team that's been around as long as the Miami Dolphins will accumulate its share of NFL draft blunders. For every Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas the team has drafted, it's also selected an Eric Kumerow, John Bosa and Ted Ginn Jr.
While the team has avoided the infamous draft busts with players like JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf, it has nonetheless selected quite a few terrible players.
These rankings are based on the investment in each draft pick compared to how he performed with the team.
For example, Patrick Turner is a well-known draft bust for the Dolphins, but he didn't make the list because he was taken at the tail-end of the third round. Turner not working out hurts, but he doesn't hurt nearly as much as someone like Yatil Green, a receiver the Dolphins drafted 15th overall.
I also considered who else the Dolphins could have taken with their selection. A draft pick failing doesn't hurt nearly as much if the majority of players picked behind him failed as well.
With all that said, let's get to the list.
John Beck, 2007 (40th overall)
The franchise quarterback of the Cam Cameron era, Beck played just five games with the Dolphins during their 1-15 season before being shipped off the following year by Bill Parcells.
He played just nine games in his entire career, never actually translating any of the skills he showed at BYU to the next level.
Eddie Moore, 2003 (49th overall)
After trading away their first-round pick as part of the Ricky Williams deal, the Dolphins tried to bolster a top-three defense with linebacker Eddie Moore, who ended up playing in just 18 career games, totaling 35 combined tackles.
Instead of looking to add weapons on offense, such as Anquan Boldin—who went five picks later—the Dolphins whiffed on Moore and the rest of their 2003 draft class.
Billy Milner, 1995 (25th overall)
The offensive tackle out of Houston lasted just two seasons in the league and was rather ineffective for a Dolphins team that could have drafted Derrick Brooks, Curtis Martin or Terrell Davis.
10. Jackie Shipp, 1984 (14th Overall)
Despite already boasting a solid linebacking corps of Charles Bowser, Bob Brudzinski and A.J. Duhe, the Dolphins went with Jackie Shipp in the first round of the 1984 draft. He ended up totaling just one sack and one interception over his six-year career.
Shipp was just one of a handful of bad picks for the Dolphins in the 1984 draft, as the team followed that pick up with Jay Brophy, another linebacker who lasted just two years with the Dolphins.
It was drafts like this why Dan Marino never had enough help around him to win a Super Bowl.
9. Jason Allen, 2006 (16th Overall)
Needing help in the secondary coming off the end of the Patrick Surtain/Sam Madison era, the Dolphins decided to go with Tennessee safety Jason Allen with their first-round pick in 2006.
The problem was that Allen struggled to find his true position, bouncing around from safety to cornerback before finding out he wasn't good enough to play either.
The fact that he held out throughout training camp and up until the regular season didn't help things either.
If they wanted help in the secondary, the Dolphins probably would have been better off taking Antonio Cromartie, who was the next defensive back off the board, drafted three picks later.
8. Pat White, 2009 (44th Overall)
In the middle of the Wildcat phenomenon, the Dolphins shockingly decided to draft a 190-pound player in the second round who was only expected to play a handful of snaps per game.
Despite having both Chad Henne (at the time the quarterback of the future) and Chad Pennington (the reigning Comeback Player of the Year) on the roster, the team still went with White.
He played just 13 games in his entire career. In that time, the quarterback out of West Virginia attempted only five passes (completing none) and ran the ball 21 times for 81 yards.
It wasn't all bad, I guess. The team only passed on guys like LeSean McCoy, Connor Barwin, Sebastian Vollmer and Mike Wallace in order to take White.
7. Sammie Smith, 1989 (9th Overall)
Looking to find a true go-to running back to play behind Dan Marino, Don Shula went with Florida State's Sammie Smith. However, Smith struggled in his short time with the Dolphins, recording more fumbles (17) than touchdowns (15) in his three years with the team.
His best rushing season came in 1990, when he ran for 831 yards but only averaged a mere 3.7 yards per carry.
The Dolphins also drafted Smith over players like Trace Armstrong, Andre Rison and Steve Atwater.
6. John Avery, 1998 (29th Overall)
With their first pick in 1998, the Dolphins decided to go with a 5'9" running back who, unsurprisingly, never came close to living up to his first-round grade.
Avery played just 17 games with the team before joining the Denver Broncos and eventually ending up in the XFL.
In his time with Miami, he rushed for 503 total yards and had more fumbles (five) than total touchdowns (three). He was drafted over the likes of Ahman Green and Hines Ward, but the Dolphins did follow that pick up by drafting Patrick Surtain, who turned out to be a much better choice.
5. Ted Ginn Jr. and His Family, 2007 (9th Overall)
The most recent of the Dolphins' draft blunders, the selection of Ted Ginn Jr. will forever be remembered by Miami fans everywhere. The pick made no sense to anyone involved, and Dolphins fans voiced their displeasure to head coach Cam Cameron when he announced the pick, as you can see in the video above.
Expecting the team to draft Brady Quinn to be the franchise quarterback, hearing Cameron announce that the team instead drafted a fast punt returner didn't sit well with fans.
Ginn only lasted three seasons with the Dolphins before being traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a fifth-round pick.
In hindsight, Quinn wouldn't have been a good pick either, but there was little doubt that Ginn wasn't going to work out from day one.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins could have drafted players such as Darrelle Revis or Patrick Willis, who were both taken just after Ginn.
4. John Bosa, 1987 (16th Overall)
Looking to build a defense capable of complementing the Dolphins' explosive offense, Don Shula went with defensive end John Bosa out of Boston College.
Bosa didn't work out from day one, lasting just three seasons with the team and recording a grand total of seven sacks.
Considering the Dolphins had a Super Bowl-caliber offense and just needed a solid defense to back it up, missing out on Bosa was a big mistake.
The only reason this bust isn't higher is because the rest of the 1987 draft wasn't anything special either. While he clearly qualifies as a draft bust, it wasn't like the Dolphins missed out on a Hall of Fame-caliber player due to drafting him.
Even still, that doesn't take away from the disaster that Bosa was in his short time with the team.
3. Yatil Green, 1997 (15th Overall)
Looking to add some talent to a relatively weak wide receiving corps, the Dolphins went with highly talented prospect Yatil Green.
But Green just couldn't stay healthy and missed his entire rookie season with an ACL injury. When he came back the next season, he suffered another injury and missed the entire season once again.
He came back the following year but just wasn't the same player Miami drafted. He started just one game in his career, playing in eight total and catching 18 passes.
To make things worse, the running back-hungry Dolphins passed on both Tiki Barber and Corey Dillon to draft Green.
2. Jamar Fletcher, 2001 (26th Overall)
Unlike some of the previous players on this list, the drafting of Jamar Fletcher set the Dolphins back over a decade.
Two years after the retirement of Dan Marino, the Dolphins had a chance to snag their next franchise quarterback, with Drew Brees falling into their laps at No. 26. Instead, the Dolphins went with Jamar Fletcher, a cornerback out of Wisconsin.
What made the pick even worse was that the team already had Pro Bowlers Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain on the roster. Cornerback wasn't a major need and they went with Fletcher anyway.
Imagining Drew Brees under center for the Dolphins and knowing it didn't happen because the front office instead picked Fletcher is enough to make any Miami fan cry into a pillow at night.
Fletcher lasted just three seasons with the Dolphins, starting six games and picking off just two passes.
1. Eric Kumerow, 1988 (16th Overall)
Once again looking to load up on defense, Shula went with Ohio State defensive end Eric Kumerow one year after drafting John Bosa. Much like Bosa, Kumerow was a colossal bust, lasting just three seasons with the Dolphins before his career came to an end. In that time, he didn't start a single game and recorded just five total sacks.
So, what makes this pick worse than Bosa and the worst of all time in Dolphins history? Well, when you consider the Dolphins' leading rusher for the 1987 season was Troy Stradford with 619 yards, I would say the team was pretty desperate for a good running back.
With their first-round pick, the Dolphins could have selected future Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. Pairing Thomas with Marino would have made the offense virtually unstoppable and could have led to a few Super Bowl titles.
Instead, the Dolphins went with a defensive end for the second straight year. And for the second straight year the pick was a bust and the front office once again failed at building a team capable of winning a Super Bowl.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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