My fifth installment of the Dolphins top 10 players at each position brings me to the defensive tackle position.
Ranking defensive tackles is a difficult proposition because they often do the “grunt work” along the defensive line and don’t get the recognition they deserve. Today, however, I will try to shine a light on the top men all time that toiled in the middle of the Dolphins defense.
10. Paul Soliai
Soliai’s inclusion on the list has alot to do with his longevity with the Dolphins. It took him a couple of seasons to acclimate to the NFL but he helped man the defensive tackle position for 7 seasons with Miami before moving on to Atlanta.
9. Jeff Zgonina
Although he came to Miami in the ‘twilight’ of his career, Zgonina made an impression in his time with Miami. In his four-year Dolphins career, he racked up 10 sacks and consistently wreaked havoc along the defensive line.
8. Chuck Klingbeil
While not much of a pass rusher, Klingbeil did what his name implied. Chuck “clung” to offensive guards for five seasons helping to anchor one of the best run defenses in the league and producing 242 tackles.
7. Ndamukong Suh
For those of you that think Suh should be higher on the list, keep in mind that (a) only his two years in Miami count towards this
ranking and (b) he has the time/ability to move up the list.
That said, Suh has come to Miami and dominated in his two seasons with the Dolphins, despite constantly being double-teamed.
6. Brian Sochia
From 1987-89, there were few better nose tackles in the game than Sochia; including a Pro Bowl appearance in 1988.
5. Daryl Gardener
Six seasons as a starter, 162 tackles and 15 sacks while a Dolphin earns him 6th place on this list.
4. Randy Starks
Starks was a difficult evaluation. While he sort of belongs on both the DE and DT lists but his stats are inflated because he played
both. In the end, it was determined that Starks spent more of his Dolphins career as a DT thus his inclusion at #5 on this list.
Regardless of where you put him, Starks spent 7 seasons with the Dolphins and earned two Pro Bowl berths in that time.
3. Tim Bowens
Bowens put in 11 seasons with the Dolphins and garnered two Pro Bowl appearances. He finished his career as the unofficial leading tackler among defensive tackles in Dolphins history (292).
2. Bob Baumhower
While official stats are hard to come by for Baumhower (as both sacks and tackles were not really tracked prior to 1982), 16 forced fumbles and 5 Pro Bowl appearances leave no doubt of the greatness he showed during his 9-year Dolphins career.
1. Manny Fernandez
There is little mystery among Dolphins fans who the greatest defensive tackle/nose tackle in team history is. What remains a mystery is how Fernandez could garner little recognition league-wide despite three consecutive trips to the Super Bowl (1971-73). Fernandez finished his 9 year Dolphins career with ZERO Pro Bowls and ZERO 1st team All-Pro selections but if you ask any of his teammates (i.e. Nick Bouniconti), they will tell you he was one of the greatest players they ever played with.