Miami Dolphins At 50: Top 10 DLs

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The top 10 lists have spanned all of the so-called “skill” positions in Miami Dolphins history, but if you talk to any football coach or expert, they’ll say that the game is won and lost in the trenches.

The next two top 10 all-time lists will focus on the line. Where the game’s largest players battle each other for positioning so that the quarterbacks and linebackers can get all the glory.

Like the defensive backs and linebackers lists, the defensive line is stacked with great individual players. The interesting thing about the list is a few players spent significant time as linebackers and transitioned to defensive end. These players were chosen for the line based on their production at the position and the team’s success that resulted from the switch.

So who are the top 10 DLs in franchise history? Let’s begin with some honorable mentions.

Mandatory Credit:

Honorable Mention – Daryl Gardener

Daryl Gardener was Jimmy Johnson’s first ever draft selection as Miami Dolphins head coach. Gardener doesn’t have the numbers of the Sam Madisons, Zach Thomases or Jason Taylors of that era, but he was a key component to that defense.

Correlation doesn’t always result in causation, but for the Dolphins losing Gardener just may have. As Miami failed to make the playoffs when Gardener left for Washington in 2002 and failed to qualify again until 2008.

Gardener only missed five starts in his first four seasons, however he would only play in 18 games in his last two seasons in Miami.

He spent six seasons with the Dolphins and recorded 252 tackles (162 solo, 92 assists) with 15 sacks. He started 77 of his 82 games and forced three fumbles while recovering five.