Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part Three: The Silver Age (1976-1983)

1981-1985 was the second-greatest five-year era in Miami Dolphins History. The team never reached the ultimate championship-winning height of the 1970-1974 era, but five playoff appearances, four division titles, three conference championship games, and two Super Bowl appearances aren’t nothing either. The very successful drafts of the 1976-1983 period built the teams that teased fans with title hopes for five years running. After blowing top pick after top pick in the 1971-1975 drafts, Miami completely turned that around between 1976 and 1983. Only 1981’s number-one pick produced little of value though that was mainly due to bad luck (really, really, really bad luck). They hit on a number of second-rounders as well. From 1976-1979 Miami added many of the defensive players that keyed their strong defenses of the early 1980’s. However, it must be noted that none of those players became actual stars. Some Pro Bowlers yes, but nobody you’d really call a game-changer. Mainly smart, dependable players. From 1980-1983 Miami stockpiled all of the offensive stars that keyed their incredible aerial attack of the mid-to-late 1980’s: Marino, Duper, Clayton, and Stephenson. So we can see the seeds of a potential problem to come: would Miami be able to replace their aging defensive players just as their offensive was peaking? More on that next time.

1 17 Larry Gordon LB
1 19 Kim Bokamper DE
2 49 Loaird McCreary TE
3 80 Duriel Harris WR
4 98 Melvin Mitchell G
6 174 Gary Davis RB
7 185 Joe Ingersoll G
7 200 John Owens DE
8 230 Bob Simpson DE
9 257 Norris Thomas DB
10 281 Gary Fencik DB
10 282 Don Testerman RB
11 312 Dexter Pride RB
12 338 Randy Young T
12 341 Darryl Brandford DT
13 366 Bernie Head C
14 396 Bob Gissler LB
15 423 Ron Holmes RB
16 450 Mike Green K
17 480 Jeff Grantz QB

Finally, a good draft again. Top pick Larry Gordon made Miami's Silver Anniversary team, Kim Bokamper made a Pro Bowl, and Duriel Harris served as a good deep threat for the Dolphins for 8 seasons. This draft could have been even better had Miami held onto 10th round pick Gary Fencik, but they waived him and he became an All-Pro safety on some great Bears' defenses. Like Leon Gray, another one that unnecessarily got away.

1 13 A.J. Duhe LB
2 40 Bob Baumhower NT
3 71 Mike Watson T
5 113 Mike Michel P
5 123 Leroy Harris RB
7 180 Bruce Herron LB
8 207 Horace Perkins DB
9 237 Robert Turner RB
10 264 Mark Carter T
11 291 John Alexander DE
12 321 Terry Anderson

Only the top two picks stuck but MIA got a Pro Bowl LB in Duhe and an All-Pro nose tackle in Bob Baumhower who was probably the best player on Miami’s ‘80’s Killer Bees defense.

2 51 Guy Benjamin QB
3 64 Lyman Smith DT
3 81 Jimmy Cefalo WR
4 93 Gerald Small DB
4 106 Eric Laakso T
5 111 Ted Burgmeier DB
6 163 Doug Betters DE
7 178 Karl Baldischwiler T
7 190 Lloyd Henry WR
8 217 Sean Clancy LB
9 247 Bruce Hardy TE
10 274 Mark Dennard C
12 331 Mike Moore RB
12 333 Bill Kenney QB

A very productive draft. Cefalo, Small, Laakso, and Dennard all played 7 years in the league. Hardy played for 10. And Betters was the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 1983 (though he never really reached the same heights of that season before or since). Miami spent the first-rounder as part of a trade for RB Delvin Williams. Since I’m only looking at drafts I won’t analyze that deal too closely here, but Williams only gave Miami one good season. On the other hand, it was a great season and Miami made the playoffs for the first time in 4 years. Also, with hindsight it doesn’t appear any good backs remained by the time Miami would have picked.

1 24 Jon Giesler T
2 53 Jeff Toews G
3 61 Tony Nathan RB
3 63 Mel Land LB
3 65 Ronnie Lee T
4 107 Steve Howell FB
5 134 Don Bessillieu DB
6 162 Steve Lindquist G
7 189 Uwe von Schamann K
8 206 Jeff Groth WR
8 215 Glenn Blackwood DB
9 244 Jeff Weston T
10 258 Jerome Stanton DB
10 272 Mike Kozlowski DB
11 299 Mike Blanton DE
12 327 Larry Fortner QB

Miami topped its 1978 draft here with a total of 7 quality players drafted. Unfortunately, while they all contributed, none of them were stars. The best was probably Tony Nathan, your classic change of pace pass-catching running back.

1 21 Don McNeal DB
2 48 Dwight Stephenson HOF C
3 75 Bill Barnett DE
4 100 Elmer Bailey WR
6 158 Eugene Byrd WR
7 185 Joe Rose TE
8 212 Jeff Allen DB
8 214 David Woodley QB
9 239 Mark Goodspeed T
10 271 Doug Lantz C
10 272 Ben Long LB
11 279 Phil Driscoll DE
12 325 Chuck Stone G

A great top-of-the draft here. McNeal played excellent DB for 10 years and Stephenson ended up a Hall of Famer. Barnett and Rose were decent role players for 6 years. The 8th round selection of David Woodley proved ultimately to have tragic consequences for both team and player.

1 13 David Overstreet RB
2 56 Andra Franklin RB
4 84 Sam Greene WR
4 96 Brad Wright QB
5 126 Ken Poole DE 1981
5 138 Tommy Vigorito RB 1985
6 152 Mack Moore DE 1986
6 154 Fulton Walker DB 1986
7 179 Mike Daum T
8 208 William Judson DB
9 235 John Noonan WR
10 261 Steve Folsom TE
11 291 Jim C. Jensen WR
12 318 John Alford DT

David Overstreet was the only first-rounder taken by Miami in the 1976-1983 era that didn’t pay off for the team. Overstreet spurned the low-paying Dolphins for the Canuckian goodness of the CFL for two years, then died in a car accident in 1984 following a promising first season as a Dolphin. Andra Franklin did a good job for a few years as a tough steady plugger-type running back in Shula’s system until a broken leg ended his career. Overall, a disappointing draft.

1 24 Roy Foster G
2 52 Mark Duper WR
3 80 Paul Lankford DB
4 108 Charles Bowser LB
5 120 Bob W. Nelson NT
5 136 Rich Diana RB
6 161 Tom Tutson DB
6 164 Ron Hester LB
7 170 Dan Johnson TE
7 192 Larry Cowan RB
8 220 Tate Randle DB
9 239 Steve S. Clark G
9 248 Mack Boatner RB
10 271 Robin Fisher LB
10 276 Wayne Jones G
11 303 Gary Crum T
12 331 Mike Rodrigue WR

Another strong 1-2 selection as both Foster and Duper became Pro Bowlers.

1 27 Dan Marino HOF QB
2 55 Mike Charles NT
3 76 Charles Benson DE
6 167 Reggie Roby P
7 195 Keith Woetzel LB
8 223 Mark Clayton WR
9 250 Mark Brown LB
10 278 Anthony Reed RB
11 306 Joe Lukens G
12 334 Anthony Carter WR

Arguably Miami’s best draft class ever. Marino alone makes this draft a contender, but Miami also got Mark Clayton, probably the best WR the Dolphins ever drafted, and an All-Pro punter, the late Reggie Roby. Mike Charles and Mark Brown were good defensive players. The only disappointment here was Miami took a flyer on Anthony Carter who had already opted for he USFL. A smart gamble but when that league tanked MIA stupidly traded away his rights for bust Robert Sendlien (who?).

A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part One (1966-1970)
A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part Two (1971-1975)
A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part Three (1976-1983)
A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part Four (1984-1989)
A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part Five (1990-1995)
A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part Six (1996-1999)
A History of the Miami Dolphins Drafts, Part Seven (2000-2004)


JB said...

What happened to Overstreet was ashame. More importantly, his family lost a life to a senseless tragedy. As far as the Dolphins were concerned, he could have made that a more dangerous backfield. Andra Franklin and Tony Nathan, while solid, weren't feature backs. That offense would have been awesome with him. But it was ashame for Marino that they couldn't get the defense together, as your next segment of Dolphin drafts will bear out.

Mike said...

Reggie Roby DIED??? Jesus, I didnt even know that. Wow. I'm three years behind apparently. I saw him play. Hell, his picture was on my ticket. RIP Reg, thanks for the memories.