One thing is for sure when it comes to the Miami Dolphins, when they have athletic offensive guards who can pull in the run-game and pass-protect, they will likely be a playoff contender.
Of course the other guys on the offensive line have to pull their weight, too, but it makes a huge difference when you have a great player at OG. It may not feel that way with the likes of the recent guards that Miami had on the roster, Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner.
The offensive line is one of the hardest groups to gauge. They aren’t glorified for statistics like touchdowns, yards, interceptions, tackles and so on. Measurements of sacks allowed, pancakes, and other OL statistics aren’t talked about on a game-by-game basis as much.
The Miami Dolphins saw a resurgence in the run-game last year that many teams started to fear. Jay Ajayi did not land the #69 spot on the NFL Top 100 Players list without the help of great zone-blocks and second-level blocking by Miami’s offensive line, when healthy.
As we wait to see if Isaac Asiata will be a member of the greatest guards in Miami Dolphins history, let’s look at the top 5 offensive guards of all-time for the Dolphins.
College: Duke University
Drafted: 1973 NFL Draft, 6th Rd, 156th pick
Ed Newman played for the Miami Dolphins from 1973 to 1984. Newman didn’t play much in his rookie season, but he contributed in every postseason game and helped the team win their second Super Bowl. Although he didn’t get into the starting lineup until his 7th season, he had four consecutive Pro Bowl selections and a First-Team All-Pro nod.
Drafted: 1982 NFL Draft, 1st Rd, 24th pick
Roy Foster started 95 of 132 games for Miami. Foster started at left guard all 16 games in 1984. That season this Dolphins finished 14-2, losing to the 49ers in Super Bowl XIX. That year, Miami had the best offense in the NFL with 6,936 total yards. 5,018 passing yards and 49 total touchdowns. In 1985, he earned a first team All-Conference, and his first Pro Bowl nod. He finished with a total 2 Pro Bowl, 3 first team All-Conference, and 2 second team All-Conference selections.
College: Iowa State University
Drafted: 1990 NFL Draft, 2nd Rd, 39th pick
In his rookie season, Keith Sims started 13 of 14 games. He also started 108 of 113 games at left guard. Partnered together with Richmond Webb and Jeff Uhlenhake on the left side of the line, Sims helped the Dolphins reach multiple playoff appearances. In 1993, he was selected to his first Pro Bowl, helping Miami have the highest offensive yards in AFC and leading the NFL with 4,353 passing yards. He was selected for his second Pro Bowl in 1994, with All-AFC first team and AP All-NFL second team. Sims earned his third consecutive Prow Bowl selection, and second team All-AFC honors.
College: Notre Dame
Drafted: 1969 NFL Draft, 4th, 80th pick
Bob Kuechenberg got snubbed in getting selected in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He started 176 of 196 games he played. Drafted by the Eagles in 1969, Kuechenberg signed to the Dolphins as a free agent in 1970, after he quit/failed during the Eagles training camp and played in the CFL for a season. In his first season, the Dolphins made the playoffs for the first time in team history. Bob Kuechenberg is a 2x Super Bowl champion, 6x Pro Bowler, 2x First Team All-Pro, Second Team All-Pro and a member of the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll. He has been a top 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 2002-2006, and a top 17 finalists from 2007-2009.
College: Bethune-Cookman College
Drafted: 1967 NFL Draft, Undrafted
It is rare in NFL History that an undrafted free agent from (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) makes it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After signing with the San Diego Chargers for two years, Larry Little was traded to Miami. While on the Chargers, they practiced at fullback for a few days and felt the staff didn’t want him there. From 1971-1973, Little played on three straight Super Bowl teams, helping Miami’s 1972 perfect season with a Super Bowl win, and another Super Bowl win in 1973. With his athleticism, he was known for being one of the best pulling guards in the history of the game. In 187 games played, he started 157. On top of winning two Super Bowls, he was a 5x Pro Bowler, 4x First Team All-Pro, AFL All-Star, NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, and a member of the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll. Larry Little was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.