Dolphins Draft History: Jason Taylor

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Defensive end Jason Taylor
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Defensive end Jason Taylor /

Leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, we’re taking a look back at some of the more notable picks made by the Miami Dolphins.

Like most of you, we here at PhinPhanatic are getting excited for the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. In anticipation, we’ve been reflecting on some of our memories, as well as providing brief histories to some of the past selections made by the Miami Dolphins.

In my two previous posts related to the subject, I provided two negative examples in Leonte Carroo and Daniel Thomas, in which both players turned out to be bad picks for Miami, and why. This time, I thought it would be best to provide a positive example. One of the best draft picks in my lifetime that comes to mind is Jason Taylor.

The Dolphins drafted Taylor in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft with the 73rd overall selection. You ever notice how Miami seems to always be picking in the same spots year after year?

Miami hasn’t had the best track record drafting in the 2nd or 3rd rounds, but in 1997, they nailed it dead on with Taylor. Unlike our lead writer here at PhinPhanatic, Brian Miller, I don’t have such a fond memory of when the Dolphins drafted Taylor. Not quite the age of 12 yet, I admittedly, had no idea who Taylor was. The only memory that I recall on that day was asking my father where Akron was located.

Expectations as a Dolphins fans were much higher in those days so all I remember thinking was this guy better be good. And he sure did deliver. Taylor would go on to play 15 seasons in the NFL, spending 13 of those as a Dolphin. He did spend one year with the Jets, but we still love him. As one of the best pass rushers ever in the league, Taylor finished his career with 139.5 sacks.

He won Defensive Player of the Week seven times in his career. One of those, in November 2006, at home against the Minnesota Vikings, I can happily say I was in attendance for. In the 4th quarter, Taylor intercepted a pass that he returned for a touchdown, sealing the win for Miami. In addition, Taylor also won Defensive Player of the Month three times throughout his career.

In 2017, Taylor was inducted as a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. All things considered, Taylor could go down as Miami’s best selection in history.

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In 1997, the Dolphins did their best Cleveland Browns impression by racking up 14 total picks that year. Granted, they didn’t do much with all of the others. Only Sam Madison (2nd round) was ever voted to a Pro Bowl, and their first-round selection of Yatil Green turned out to be a huge bust.

There were seven defensive ends in 1997 selected ahead of Taylor. Only one, Marcellus Wiley (52nd overall – Buffalo), was ever elected to a Pro Bowl. Only two other players from that class (Orlando Pace and Walter Jones) have been inducted into the Hall-of-Fame at this time. Both of those players were taken within the first six selections.

One reasoning behind why so many teams passed on Taylor is because he came from a small school. His overcoming that to become one of the best ever has inspired many athletes since then coming from other small schools. Teams now are not as hesitant to take those players either, and I believe that Taylor is a big reason why.

Much similar to another Dolphins great, Dan Marino, Taylor unfortunately never got the opportunity to lift a Super Bowl trophy. In fact, his best opportunity came as a New York Jet in 2010 when the Jets reached the AFC Championship Game, losing to Pittsburgh.

That doesn’t discard the incredible impact that Taylor had as a player nor does it discount his fantastic career. In his 15 seasons, Taylor was never cited for trouble issues. Taylor is the type of player that athletes should strive to become both on and off the field. There’s no debate that he is one of the best to ever play the game.