If you look through the Miami Dolphins’ most recent draft picks, a lot of them come from small schools. While some fans tend to focus on this and insist that big school prospects are better because of the talent and competition they have faced in their collegiate careers (not a bad argument), other fans look more to the individuals and argue that small school players have just as much to offer when it comes to translating into the NFL. Miami Dolphins writer Alan Poupart recently wrote an article that I found useful to this discussion. It featured the following small school players who turned out to be decent to great pros in the NFL.
S Jimmy Wilson, Montana, 2011 7th round
He has totaled 3 picks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, 3 blocked punts, and 73 tackles while playing safety, nickel corner, linebacker and special teams in three seasons. He has been an absolute stud on special teams, and has been a great depth player in the Dolphins’ secondary. If Wilson continues to grow, he will see more and more playing time. Wilson has great numbers for limited playing time so far in his career.
DE Kendall Langford, Hampton, 2008 3rd round
He started immediately as a rookie at left defensive end, and went on to start 55 games and had 7.5 sacks for the Fins. He was a solid defensive piece and didn’t miss a game in 4 seasons as a Dolphin.
S Yeremiah Bell, Eastern Kentucky, 2003 6th round
If you aren’t familiar with Bell and his previous success in Miami, you haven’t been watching the Dolphins the past decade. In 8 seasons with Miami, he totaled 75 starts, 9 forced fumbles, 6 interceptions and 434 tackles while also starting on special teams. He was a leader of the Dolphins’ secondary and defense during the latter part of his tenure in Miami, and has been one of the greatest draftees in Dolphins history.
WR Mark Duper, Northwestern State, 1982 2nd round
A product of HC Don Shula in 1982, Duper holds the record has Miami’s all time leading pass catcher (in yards), and had four 1,000 yard seasons and 3 Pro-Bowl selections in 11 years with the Dolphins. Enough said.
These are just four of the past Miami Dolphins draft picks to come from small schools. If they are any indication of what small school players can do in the NFL, then we should be excited to see what our recent picks can do! Hopefully they play up to their potential like the aforementioned players did.