The 25 best players in Miami Dolphins history

From Dan Marino to Zach Thomas the Miami Dolphins have played some of the greatest players in the NFL and these are 25 of the Dolphins all-time greatest.

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
New York Jets v Miami Dolphins / Marc Serota/GettyImages
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5. DE Jason Taylor

Jason Taylor
New York Jets v Miami Dolphins / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

While the Dolphins were not a good team in the late 90's into the 2000's, there was one bright spot that was hard to ignore on the defense. Defensive end Jason Taylor was drafted in the third round in 1997 by the Miami Dolphins out of Akron and would become the best edge rusher in Miami Dolphins history. As a rookie, Taylor notched five sacks. In his second year, he had nine sacks and batted down eight balls as a starter. However, Jason Taylor really broke out in 2000, when he had 73 tackles, 14.5 sacks and 6 passes knocked down, good for first-team All-Pro honors. In 2002, Taylor led the league in sacks, with 18.5, and forced 7 fumbles as well as knocking down 8 more balls, again making the first-team All-Pro.

The next season, the trend continued as Taylor declared himself the best pass rusher in the game with 13 more sacks. Taylor continued his dominance into the mid-2000's as he had the best year of his career in 2006. Recording 13.5 sacks, forcing 9 fumbles and catching 2 interceptions, Jason Taylor found himself first-team All-Pro once again and being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Taylor left Miami for Washington in 2007, but returned to the Dophins in 2011, where he racked up 7 sacks on the year and reached 6th place in the all-time sack leaderboard. Taylor was also named Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2007. Jason Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017, his first year of eligibility.

4. Guard Larry Little

Larry Little
Miami Dolphins / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

After being undrafted in 1967, Bethune-Cookman guard Larry Little signed with the San Diego Chargers and played there for two years before being traded to Don Shula's Miami Dolphins in 1969. As a starter at guard, Little made the Pro Bowl in his first year in Miami. In the early 70's, Little was instrumental in the Dolphin's monumental run, which included three Super Bowl appearances and the NFL's only perfect season in 1972.

Little was named first-team All-Pro for five straight seasons, from 1971 to 1975, earning Pro Bowl nods in each of those years as well. Little spent the rest of his career in Miami until his retirement in 1980. Little was a staple at guard for the best years in Miami Dolphins history, and for his contribution to the game, Larry Little was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

3. QB Bob Griese

Bob Griese
Super Bowl VIII - Minnesota Vikings v Miami Dolphins / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Purdue's Bob Griese was one of the Miami Dolphins' first ever quarterbacks as he was selected fourth overall in the 1967 draft. Griese was an AFL All-Star his first two seasons in Miami. In 1970, head coach Don Shula was hired in Miami to get the best out of Griese as a quarterback. Shula's first year coaching Griese culminated in the Dolphin's first postseason birth amidst a 10-4 record. In 1971, the Dolphins reached their first Super Bowl behind Bob Griese, who was named the 1971 NFL MVP and awarded the Jim Thorpe Trophy. In 1972, Griese and the Dolphins started off the season rattling off four straight wins behind the arm of Bob Griese. In the fifth game of the season, Griese suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle.

At halftime of the AFC Championship game, Don Shula called on a not fully recovered Brian Griese to relieve backup Earl Morrall. Griese willed the Dolphins to a win over the Steelers and advanced to the Super Bowl, where Griese led the Dolphins to their first ever Super Bowl win. Griese and the Dolphins repeated as Super Bowl champions in 1973. After Griese retired in 1980, he was one of the most decorated quarterbacks in NFL history. Griese was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

2. FB Larry Csonka

Larry Csonka
Super Bowl VIII - Minnesota Vikings v Miami Dolphins / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Widely considered one of the greatest running backs of all time, Larry Csonka was the first overall selection in the 1968 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. After a shaky start to his career in a few injury-riddled seasons, Csonka actually considered hanging up his cleats entirely. Luckily for the Dolphins, he came back in 1970 under head coach Don Shula and took the league by storm. From 1970 to 1974, Larry Csonka did not miss another game and led the team in rushing. By all accounts, defenses were afraid to tackle Csonka due to his violent running style. At 6'3 and over 250 pounds, Csonka was a freight train running the football and made five straight Pro Bowls, including two first-team All-Pro selections. Legend has it that Larry Csonka broke his nose over 10 times in his younger days running the football, leaving his nose permanently disfigured.

The Dolphins led the NFL in rushing in 1971 and 1972, led by Csonka, who was regularly carrying tacklers 5-10 yards on his back after contact. The Dolphins set the single-season rushing record with 2,960 yards, behind Csonka's 1,117 yards in 1972. Csonka recorded three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 1971 to 1973, and averaged over 5 yards per carry from 1972 to 1973. In 1973, the "Zonk" rushed for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns in Super Bowl VII and earned the Super Bowl MVP. Csonka was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1987 and his #39 is retired by the Miami Dolphins.

1. QB Dan Marino

Dan Marino
Houston Oilers v Miami Dolphins / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

When Dan Marino retired in 2000, the quarterback owned nearly every single statistical passing record in NFL history. After being drafted first overall in the USFL, Marino refused to sign with the league and ended up signing with the NFL's Miami Dolphins after Miami selected him 27th overall in 1983. In week six of his rookie season, Marino started the first game of his career. In his rookie season, Marino set various records including rookie passer rating, being the only rookie quarterback to make the Pro Bowl, and had the highest passing completion percentage. Miami went 12-4 and made the playoffs. In his second season, 1984, Dan Marino broke six separate NFL passing records, including most touchdowns in a season and most passing yards in a season. Marino was named league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year after the Dolphins went 14-2 on the year. In the AFC Championship, Marino set conference championship records for most touchdowns and passing yards.

Marino made every Pro Bowl from 1983 through 1987, including three first-team All-Pro selections from 1984 to 1986. In 1988, Marino became the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards four different times in his career. By 1992, Marino led the league in passing yards for the fifth time in his career. In 1996, Marino became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 50,000 career passing yards. In 1998, Marino became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 touchdowns in his career. By 1999, Marino became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 60,000 career passing yards.

By the time Marino retired in 2000, he had made 9 Pro Bowls, reached the playoffs 10 times, made All-Pro teams 8 times, won NFL MVP, NFL Comeback Player of the year, and the Walter Payton Man of the Year. As of this writing, Marino still owns 12 NFL records. Dan Marino was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1983 and is still widely considered one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

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