Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins From Small Schools

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.





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  • LostSok

    The biggest aspect of the “small school” thing to me is playing time. Many higher rated high school recruits come in to Alabama, OSU, etc. and spend 1-2 years red/gray shirting or behind the previous 4-5 star recruits already there.

    The 2-3 star recruits that go to mid-major or small schools often play 3-4 years before being drafted. They may have been graded lower out of high school, but they’re more experienced. Also, some schools (Boise State being a prime example), put a heavy emphasis on fundamentals. The reason a two-star recruit who changed positions, like Ryan Clady, left Boise State a first rounder comes down to being technically sound.

    Over-achievers are those who works the hardest and do all the little things right. And, frankly, I’ll take those guys over kids who skated on raw ability and were surrounded by other players like themselves. Clearly the NFL agrees. For being one of the most dominate teams of the decade so far…almost all the Alabama kids slid…while the Cowboys moved up for a former two-star recruit that changed positions…from Boise State.