Dolphins Linebacker Draft History: The Hits, Misses and Trends

The Miami Dolphins have selected 83 linebackers in their history, including four in the first round
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As we head into the homestretch to the 2021 NFL Draft, it's a good time to revisit the Miami Dolphins draft history at every position.

In this draft series, we'll break down each position with number of picks since the start of the "common draft" in 1967, first-round selections, hits and misses, and any trends that might apply.

We continue with the linebackers (as always, hits and misses are determined by gauging production versus draft position):


Number of picks: 83

Number of first-round picks: 4 (Larry Gordon, 1976; Kim Bokamper, 1976; Jackie Shipp, 1984; Marco Coleman, 1992)

Hits: Mike Kolen (Round 12, 1970), Steve Towle (Round 6, 1975), Mark Brown (Round 9, 1983), John Offerdahl (Round 2, 1986), Bryan Cox (Round 5, 1991), Zach Thomas (Round 5, 1996), Channing Crowder (Round 3, 2005), Jerome Baker (Round 3, 2018), Andrew Van Ginkel (Round 5, 2019)

Misses: Jackie Shipp (Round 1, 1984); Jay Brophy (Round 2, 1984); Rick Graf (Round 2, 1987); Aubrey Beavers (Round 2, 1994); Brad Jackson (Round 3, 1997); Ronnie Ward (Round 3, 1997); Eddie Moore (Round 2, 2003)

Trends: The thing that jumps out here clearly is the fact the Dolphins haven't drafted a linebacker in the first round in 1992, and even though Marco Coleman was just as much a defensive end as a linebacker. The last pure linebacker in Round 1 goes back to 1984, which is an awfully long time.


As is the case for every team at just about every position, there have been some big-time hits and some egregious misses, but what sticks out are the middle-to-late-round gems the Dolphins unearthed.

It starts, of course, with getting Hall of Fame finalist Zach Thomas in Round 5 in 1996 in Jimmy Johnson's first draft. But four years before that, Don Shula landed three-time Pro Bowl selection Bryan Cox in the same round and long before that he got No-Name Defense starter Mike Kolen all the way back in Round 12.

The Dolphins defense of the late 1980s had their struggles and part of that stemmed from the draft whiffs of 1984 when they took Jackie Shipp and Jay Brophy in the first two rounds, even trading up from 26 to 14 to get Shipp out of the University of Oklahoma.

The selection of Moore in 2003 was really painful because not only did Moore himself think he went a lot earlier than expected, but the Dolphins also passed on the chance to draft Anquan Boldin at a time when they had a clear need for a wide receiver.

The last two linebacker picks (Baker and Van Ginkel) were good choices, but one can argue Raekwon McMillan belong on the "misses" list after being a second-round pick in 2017 and not making it to a second contract before he was traded.


-- Dolphins Defensive Line Draft History

-- Dolphins Offensive Line Draft History

-- Dolphins Tight End Draft History

-- Dolphins Wide Receiver Draft History

-- Dolphins Running Back Draft History

-- Dolphins Quarterback Draft History