Miami Dolphins all time top 10 draft picks


The Miami Dolphins are selecting 8th in this years NFL Draft. It’s a position that many thought wouldn’t have been possible when the season started. By the season’s end, many were surprised that the pick was this low. The Dolphins did just enough to stay in the top 10.

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In week 17 when the Dolphins beat the New England Patriots, Miami dropped three draft slots so the victory over New England was far more appreciated. Knowing now that forcing the Patriots to travel to Denver for the conference championship is also a bitter runners-up trophy for an otherwise disappointing season. The Patriots of course lost to the Broncos on Sunday, in Denver. Had the Dolphins lost to the Patriots in week 17 that game would have been played in Foxboro.

Over their 50 years of existence, the Dolphins have held a top 10 pick 12 times. One of those was the result of a trade-up by Jeff Ireland. Four of those came in the first three years of the franchise way back in the late 60’s. The Dolphins had two picks in 1967 and used them on Jim Grabowski and Rick Norton. Neither player made a lasting impression. Grabowski opted to sign with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers instead of Miami and Norton started 11 games in his four seasons.

Following the first season, the Dolphins drafted Bob Griese and Larry Csonka. We are going to leave them off this list as well because we know what they became and are really more or less exceptions to the top 10 slotting because the Dolphins were still young as a franchise. While the team had a couple of picks from 11 – 15 over the next two decades, we have to jump all the way to 1989 for a top 10 selection.


Sammy Smith

9th overall

Smith played three seasons for the Dolphins and accumulated 1,787 yards and 15 touchdowns. Smith was drafted to give the Dolphins a legit running back to go along with quarterback Dan Marino. It didn’t work out as well as Don Shula had hoped. Smith would play one more year in the NFL with Denver. He would rush for 94 yards. After being taken 9th overall, Smith was out of the league after four seasons.


Richmond Webb

9th overall

Webb will never get into the Pro-Football HOF but he should at minimum be considered. Webb had a phenomenal career in Miami and made seven pro-bowls in his 11 seasons with the Dolphins. Webb was also named to the 2nd team of the HOF’s All 90’s team. He played his final two seasons with the Bengals finishing 13 seasons strong. Webb is a member of the Dolphins Ring of Honor. Inducted in 2006.


Troy Vincent

7th overall

The Dolphins scored big when they drafted cornerback Troy Vincent in the 1992 draft. Unfortunately the NFL was changing and “plan-b” free agency was taking a foot hold on players contracts. The Dolphins opted to let Vincent leave via free agency for the Eagles where he thrived. Vincent played only four seasons for the Dolphins and played eight in Philadelphia before rounding out his career with two and a half seasons in Buffalo and one in Washington.


Ronnie Brown

2nd overall

Ronnie Brown was the first player taken under then new head coach Nick Saban. Saban set out to change the Dolphins and started with the ball carrier. The Auburn back was well-known to Saban who had coached at LSU. Brown spent six seasons with the Dolphins rushing for 4,815 yards and 36 touchdowns. His lone pro-bowl season came in 2008 when the Dolphins ran the wild cat formation to their last division title and post-season birth. Brown would leave Miami and finish his career playing for San Diego, Houston, and Philadelphia.


Ted Ginn, Jr.

9th overall

Then head coach Cam Cameron told a booing crowd of Dolphins fans that they would grow to love the “entire Ted Ginn family” but like Cameron, Ginn’s stay in Miami was short-lived. After three seasons and 312 yards total and one touchdown, Ginn was let go. He joined the 49’ers for three seasons, the Panthers for one, and then in 2014 joined the Arizona Cardinals. In 2015 Ginn re-joined the Panthers and is now the starting number one wide-receiver in Super Bowl 50 for the Panthers. His time in Miami was marred by dropped passes and an inability to break free of jams at the line of scrimmage. It’s safe to say that no one really fell in love with the Ginn family.


Jake Long

1st overall

The first selection of the Bill Parcells era came and went with little excitement as the Dolphins officially made Long their first selection a week prior to the start of the draft. Long spent five seasons with the Dolphins and made the pro-bowl three times at left tackle. Long could not however stay healthy and finished his final two season in Miami on injured reserve. Long would leave Miami for St. Louis when Joe Philbin took over the team in 2012. He was unable to finish a single season in his two years with the team. In 2015 the Atlanta Falcons picked him mid-season as an injury replacement. It’s likely that Long’s NFL career is all but officially over after seven and a half seasons.


Ryan Tannehill

8th overall

The Dolphins wasted little time drafting their first, first round quarterback since 1983. Tannehill has been inconsistent in his four complete seasons. Some of that can be attributed to poor offensive line play, play calling, and two offensive coordinators. While he has been inconsistent, Tannehill has thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of his last two seasons and has cut down on his TD to INT ratio in each of his four seasons. The Dolphins are expecting Tannehill to make big strides in 2016 and if he fails to accomplish that, he could be out of work in Miami. The Dolphins signed him to a contract extension prior to the start of the 2015 season but nothing in his contract is guaranteed beyond 2016.


Dion Jordan

3rd overall

The Dolphins didn’t finish bad enough to earn the third pick in the draft so Jeff Ireland traded up for it. Jordan was the top defensive prospect in the draft class and despite having needs elsewhere, Ireland felt that he couldn’t pass up a top edge rusher. Unfortunately, Jordan was crippled by a system that didn’t fit his style and a coach that didn’t believe in him. Jordan rarely played in his first season with the Dolphins and when he did was often out of position. Following the season many believed that Jordan would find success in his sophomore season but that too didn’t happen. He started only one game of the 10 games he was active in 2014. He was suspended for PED use and was eventually suspended the entire 2015 season. He remains on the roster and his future is unclear.