Number 18 and the Three Dolphins Who Wore It Best

The Miami Dolphins are 18 days away from their 2020 season opener at New England, so we honor the top three players who wore the corresponding number
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The countdown to the start of the 2020 regular season continues, and every day we honor the best players to wear the correspondent number for the Dolphins.

Today, we're at number 18.

The top players at each number so far have been:

99. DE/LB Jason Taylor; 98. DL Jared Odrick; 97. DT Jordan Phillips; 96. DT Paul Soliai; 95. DT Tim Bowens; 94. DT Randy Starks; 93. DE Trace Armstrong; 92. LS John Denney; 91. DE/LB Cameron Wake; 90. DE/LB Marco Coleman

89. WR Nat Moore; 88. TE Keith Jackson; 87. TE Andre Tillman; 86. WR Oronde Gadsden; 85. LB Nick Buoniconti; 84. DE Bill Stanfill; 83. WR Mark Clayton; 82. WR Brian Hartline; 81. WR O.J. McDuffie; 80. WR Irving Fryar

79. T Jon Giesler; 78. T Richmond Webb; 77. DE/LB A.J. Duhe; 76. T Branden Albert; 75. DT Manny Fernandez; 74. T Mark Dennis; 73. DT Bob Baumhower; 72. DT Bob Heinz; 71. T Todd Wade; 70. DE Kendall Langford

69. G Keith Sims; 68. T Eric Laakso; 67. G/T Bob Kuechenberg; 66. G Larry Little; 65. OL Jeff Dellenbach; 64. G Ed Newman; 63. G/T Mark Dixon; 62. C Jim Langer; 61. C Tim Ruddy; 60. G Bert Weidner

59. LB Doug Swift; 58. DE-LB Kim Bokamper; 57. C Dwight Stephenson; 56. LB John Offerdahl; 55. LB Earnest Rhone; 54. LB Zach Thomas; 53. LB Bob Matheson; 52. LB Channing Crowder; 51. LB Bryan Cox; 50. LB Larry Gordon

49. CB William Judson; 48. CB Gerald Small; 47. S Glenn Blackwood; 46. S Don Bessillieu; 45. CB Curtis Johnson; 44. CB Paul Lankford; 43. S Bud Brown; 42. WR Paul Warfield; 41. FB Keith Byars; 40. S Dick Anderson

39. RB Larry Csonka; 38. DB Calvin Jackson; 37. CB J.B. Brown; 36. FB Don Nottingham; 35. DB Walt Aikens; 34. RB Ricky Williams; 33. RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar; 32. RB Kenyan Drake; 31. S Brock Marion; 30. RB Bernie Parmalee

29. CB Sam Madison; 28. CB Don McNeal; 27. CB Terrell Buckley; 26. S Jarvis Williams; 25. DB Tim Foley; 24. RB Delvin Williams; 23. CB Patrick Surtain; 22. RB Tony Nathan; 21. RB Jim Kiick; 20. S Reshad Jones

19. WR-KR Ted Ginn Jr.

As a reminder about the ground rules, the top three will be determined only by what the players did while wearing that uniform for the Dolphins.

Players who wore 18 for at least one regular season game:

QB Dick Wood (1966), DB Mike Smith (1985-86), Cliff Stoudt (1989), QB Sage Rosenfels (2002-05), WR Ernest Wilford (2008), WR Roberto Wallace (2010-11), WR Rishard Matthews (2013-15), WR Preston Williams (2019)

The debate:

We have arrived at perhaps the least productive number so far. It's slim pickings when it comes to getting a top three out of number 18, but we'll try anyway. Here's a breakdown of the eight players who wore the number:

• Dick Wood has the distinction of being the starting quarterback for the Dolphins' first-ever game, but that 1966 season didn't go well for him. He was 0-4 in four starts, completed 36.1 percent of his passes and had four touchdowns against 14 interceptions. Taht would be his fifth and final season of pro football.

• Mike Smith was a fourth-round pick who played 21 games with no starts for two seasons before he switched to 25 in 1987.

• Cliff Stoudt had played 63 games with 20 starts in the NFL before he joined the Dolphins at the start of the 1989 season, but he appeared in only three games for Miami and didn't attempt a pass.

• Sage Rosenfels came to the Dolphins in a trade one year after he was a fourth-round pick for Washington and he appeared in 13 games for Miami over four seasons. He was 0-2 in his two starts for the Dolphins, but he passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns in the second half of a 2005 game against Buffalo when he helped Miami rally from a 21-3 deficit to win 24-23.

• Ernest Wilford arrived as a free agent in 2008 and his most memorable accomplishment was telling the media he would only speak on a certain day of the week — a rare occurrence in those days, especially for someone who was not a star. Wilford played seven games for the Dolphins and caught only three passes before he was gone.

• Roberto Wallace made the Dolphins roster as a rookie free agent in 2010 and flashed in two training camps, but he played only 14 games over two seasons and caught six passes.

• Rishard Matthews was a seventh-round pick in 2012, though he wore 86 as a rookie. After switching to 18, Matthews had seasons of 41 and 43 catches over the next three years, including his Dolphins highs of 662 yards and four touchdowns in only 11 games in 2015.

• Finally, there's Preston Williams, who is heading into his second season after catching 32 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns in an impressive first half of 2019 before his torn ACL against the Jets in November. Barring injury or a number change, it won't be long before Williams will take over the top spot for number 18.

The top three:

1. WR Rishard Matthews

2. WR Preston Williams

3. QB Sage Rosenfels


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Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @apoupartFins.