Number 32 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 32.

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

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 32 for at least one regular season game:

RB Joe Auer (1966-67), RB Hubert Ginn (1970-73), RB Benny Malone (1974-78), RB Tom Vigorito (1981-85), DB Donald Brown (1986), RB Pete Roth (1987), RB Garrett Limbrick (1990), CB Bruce Alexander (1992-93), RB Aaron Craver (1994), RB Cleveland Gary (1994), RB Jerris McPhail (1996-97), RB J.J. Johnson (1999-2001), RB Charlie Rogers (2003), FB Jamar Martin (2004), DB Jason Allen (2006-10), CB Nate Ness (2010), CB Nate Jones (2011), CB Jonathan Wade (2011), DB Michael Coe (2012), CB Dimitri Patterson (2012-13), RB Orleans Darkwa (2014), S Jordan Kovacs (2015), RB Kenyan Drake (2016-19), CB Linden Stephens (2019), CB Ken Crawley (2019)

The debate:

The Dolphins have had an awful lot of players wear number 32 and several who made clear contributions, so it's tough to pick out a top three. Joe Auer, who played at nearby Coral Gables High, is forever etched in Dolphins history for returning the team's first-ever opening kickoff for a touchdown and he also was the organization's first team MVP. Benny Malone was a second-round pick in 1974 and he started 23 of the 57 games he played for Miami. He had 797 rushing yards with four touchdowns in 1976, followed by 615 rushing yards and five TDs in 1977. Tom Vigorito started two of the 35 games he played after being a fifth-round pick in 1981, but he had two punt returns for touchdowns. Jason Allen was the Dolphins' first-round pick in 2006, but he was a backup for most of his four-plus seasons in Miami and split time between safety and cornerback. Kenyan Drake had an up-and-down three-plus seasons in Miami, but he certainly provided some memorable highlights, none bigger than his touchdown in the "Miracle in Miami" victory against New England in 2018. He also had a game-winning kickoff return for a touchdown against the Jets in 2016 that played a big role in the team's drive to the playoffs. Drake had seasons with 644 and 535 rushing yards and averaged an impressive 4.6 yards per carry with the Dolphins.

Worth noting:

Ginn had three different stints with the Dolphins after being a ninth-round pick in 1970 and getting traded twice. He wore 32 in his first stint. He didn't start one game in his 90-game NFL career. ... Alexander played 26 games with one start for the Dolphins after arriving from Detroit as a Plan B free agent. ... Gary was a former University of Miami star who had been a first-round pick of the Rams in 1989 and had rushed for 1,125 yards in 1992, but he appeared in only two games for Miami in 1994. ... McPhail caught 54 passes in his two seasons with Miami after being a fifth-round pick in 1996. ... J.J. Johnson was the Dolphins' top pick in the 1999 draft as a second-round choice, but he produced only 748 rushing yards and a 3.4 average in three seasons before he was traded to Cleveland. ... Ness played three games for Miami in 2010, part of a career that saw him play a total of nine games for four different teams. ... Patterson was claimed off waivers from Cleveland late in the 2012 season, then had four interceptions in six games in 2013 before injuries ended his time in Miami. ... Darkwa played four games with Miami in 2014 before moving on to play 48 games with 13 starts for the Giants over the next three-plus seasons. He rushed for 751 yards for the Giants in his final NFL season in 2017.

The top three:

1. RB Kenyan Drake

2. RB Benny Malone

3. RB Joe Auer

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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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