Number 31 and the Three Dolphins Who Wore It Best

Alain Poupart

The countdown to the start of the 2020 regular season has begun now that we're under 100 days away, so we'll honor every day the best players to wear the correspondent number for the Dolphins.

Today, we're at number 31.

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

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 31 for at least one regular season game:

RB George Chesser (1967), RB Barry Pryor (1969-70), RB Terry Cole (1971), RB Norm Bulaich (1975-79), RB Rick Moser (1980), RB Eddie Hill (1981-84), DB Sean Hill (1994-96), S Brock Marion (1998-2003), RB Sammy Morris (2004-06), S Lance Schulters (2007), Evan Oglesby (2010), CB Al Harris (2010), TE Charles Clay (2011), CB Richard Marshall (2012), S Michael Thomas (2013-17), CB Cornell Armstrong (2018), CB Ken Webster (2019)

The debate:

There isn't much debate for the top spot at 31, and it has to go to one of the best free agent signings in Dolphins history, that of safety Brock Marion. In six seasons with Miami, Marion was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and he led the NFL in interception return yards (227) and pick-sixes (2) in 2001. Norm Bulaich spent the final five seasons of his NFL career with the Dolphins after being acquired in a trade with the Eagles and averaged 421 rushing yards and 28 receptions in the first years along with scoring a total of 18 touchdowns, including 10 in 1975. Sean Hill played 44 games with six starts after being a seventh-round pick in 1994 and had one interception and a fumble return for a touchdown in his final NFL season in 1996. Running back Sammy Morris led the Dolphins in rushing in 2004, albeit with only 523 yards, and had six rushing touchdowns. He also had 400 rushing yards in 2006. Safety Michael Thomas made an immediate impact for the Dolphins with a game-clinching end-zone interception against New England in December 2013 five days after being signed off the 49ers practice squad and went on to start 25 games in the secondary while becoming a special teams captain.

Worth noting:

George Chesser joined the Dolphins as a free agent punter-running back in 1966, but wore 28 in his first of two seasons with Miami. ... Eddie Hill played 52 games with three starts for the Dolphins after arriving in a trade with the Rams. ... Al Harris joined the Dolphins late in the 2010 season after spending 12 years with the Eagles and Packers. ... Charles Clay had some good production for the Dolphins as a sixth-round pick, but most of it came while he wore 42. ... Richard Marshall arrived as an unrestricted free agent after being a productive starter with the Panthers and Cardinals, but back problems limited him to four games in his one season in Miami.

The top three:

1. S Brock Marion

2. RB Norm Bulaich

3. S Michael Thomas

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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.

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