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 offensive line (as always, hits and misses are determined by gauging production versus draft position):
DOLPHINS OFFENSIVE LINE DRAFT HISTORY
Number of picks: 114
Number of first-round picks: 12 (T Doug Crusan, 1968; T Darryl Carlton, 1975; T Jon Giesler, 1979; G Roy Foster, 1982; T Richmond Webb, 1990; T Billy Milner, 1995; G/T Vernon Carey, 2004; T Jake Long, 2008; C/G Mike Pouncey, 2011; T Ja'Wuan James, 2014; T Laremy Tunsil, 2016; T Austin Jackson, 2020)
Hits: G Ed Newman (Round 6, 1973), C Mark Dennard (Round 10, 1978), T Eric Laakso (Round 4, 1978), C Dwight Stephenson (Round 2, 1980), G Roy Foster (Round 1, 1982), C/G Jeff Dellenbach (Round 4, 1985), G Harry Galbreath (Round 8, 1988), C Jeff Uhlenhake (Round 5, 1989), T Richmond Webb (Round 1, 1990), G Keith Sims (Round 2, 1990), G Chris Gray (Round 5, 1993), C Tim Ruddy (Round 2, 1994), T Todd Wade (Round 2, 2000), G Rex Hadnot (Round 6, 2004), C/G Mike Pouncey (Round 1, 2011), T Laremy Tunsil (Round 1, 2016), G Solomon Kindley (Round 4, 2020)
Misses: T Leon Gray* (Round 2, 1973), T Darryl Carlton (Round 1, 1975), G Jeff Toews (Round 2, 1979), T Billy Milner (Round 1, 1995), G Andrew Greene (Round 2, 1995), C/G Grey Ruegamer (Round 3, 1999), G Taylor Whitley (Round 3, 2003), T Jonathan Martin (Round 2, 2012), G/T Dallas Thomas (Round 3, 2013)
Trends: The 2018 draft marked the first time in franchise history the Dolphins did not draft an offensive lineman, but they've come back with a vengeance, taking two in 2019 and three last year. That 2020 draft marked the fourth time the Dolphins took an offensive linemen in each of the first two rounds, following what they did in 1979, 1990 and 1995.
HOW THE DOLPHINS HAVE DONE
This is one of the positions where the Dolphins have done their best work in the draft.
It starts, clearly, at center where the Dolphins were able to get Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson and long-timer starter Tim Ruddy in the second round, and also got starters Mark Dennard and Jeff Uhlenhake in later rounds, along with Mike Pouncey in Round 1.
The track record in that first round overall isn't great, though, because only five of the 12 picks made the Pro Bowl for the Dolphins.
And if we're talking first round, we have to mention the great Jake Long debate and whether his selection should be considered a miss considering he was limited to five seasons with the Dolphins because of injuries and the team passed on Matt Ryan to take Long.
There is little question that Long would be headed to the Hall of Fame had it not been for injuries, so it's difficult to call it a bad pick, though the counter argument is that it's always preferable to land a franchise quarterback than a franchise left tackle. This then becomes a referendum on what everybody thinks of Matt Ryan, who had a Pro Bowl wide receiver or tight end (often both) at his disposal every year of his NFL career until the streak was broken in 2020.
Laremy Tunsil as a first-round pick absolutely has to be considered a "hit" because not only was he a good three-year starter for Miami, he brought in a fabulous return in his famous trade to the Houston Texans.
Another tidbit that should be mentioned as some Dolphins draft picks on the offensive line who didn't pan out in Miami but went on to have good or great career elsewhere.
The latest example is 2014 third-round pick Billy Turner, who has become a solid starter on a very good Green Bay Packers line. There's also Chris Gray, who became a 10-year starter in Seattle after leaving the Dolphins. The most glaring example, though, is Leon Gray, who didn't even make the roster as a rookie before going on to become a three-time All-Pro with the New England Patriots.
We put Kindley in the "hit" category because he started 13 games as a rookie fourth-round pick, which is always an impressive feat. Jackson and Hunt could join him on that list at some point, which obviously would be a big bonus for the Dolphins.