Dolphins draft: Top 10 draft steals in Miami Dolphins history

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10 bargains the Miami Dolphins have found in the draft

Born in captivity in 1966, the Miami Dolphins were an expansion team in the American Football League. They were the AFL’s ninth franchise, and soon, the club and the league would merge with the NFL. In 1970, Don Shula became the head coach, and the franchise became one of the five teams in the AFC East.

It wasn’t long before the Dolphins were making three straight Super Bowl appearances (1971-73), achieving perfection in 1972 and repeating as Super Bowl champions a year later.

These days, Chris Grier is the general manager and Mike McDaniel is the head coach. Over the first two days of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Dolphins have added edge rusher Chop Robinson (1-Penn State) and tackle Patrick Paul (2-Houston).

This exercise is a list of the greatest draft steals in the franchise’s history. All of these players were drafted in the fifth round or lower (sorry, Jason Taylor and Dick Anderson, both third-round selections).

The best draft steals in the proud history of the Dolphins

10. DE Vern Den Herder (1971: Round 9)

He has one of the great names in NFL history. The 230th overall pick in the 1971 draft, defensive end Vern Den Herder knew how to get to enemy quarterbacks. Via Pro Football Reference, he ranks fourth in team history with 65.0 sacks behind Jason Taylor (131.0), Cameron Wake (98.0), and Bill Stanfill (69.5).

The former Central College (Iowa) product was a relentless pursuer, finishing his career with 14 fumble recoveries and one interception. Den Herder played in a total of 17 postseason games in his 12 seasons, including four Super Bowls. He’s a two-time NFL champion and his final game was Super Bowl XVII.

9. DE Doug Betters (1978: Round 6)

He proved to be a very productive performer for Don Shula’s club. A sixth-round pick who spent time at the University of Montana and eventually the University of Nevada, he was the 163rd overall pick in the 1979 draft. He spent ten seasons with the franchise and was part of two Super Bowl teams (XVII and XIX).

Doug Betters ranks fifth in the Dolphins’ history with 64.5 sacks. Almost half of those (30) came in a two-year stretch in 1983 and ’84. That ’83 campaign saw him finish with 16.0 quarterback traps and four fumble recoveries. It resulted in Cross being a Pro Bowler, an All-Pro, and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.