Number 44 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 44.

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

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 44 for at least one regular season game:

DB Pete Jaquess (1966-67), DB Dick Washington (1968), DB Dean Brown (1970), DB Barry Hill (1975-76), DB Charles Cornelius (19977-78), S Doug Beaudoin (1980), CB Paul Lankford (1982-91), RB Bobby Humphrey (1992), FB Rob Konrad (1999-2004), FB Heath Evans (2005), S Cameron Worrell (2007), S Jordan Kovacs (2013-14), LB Stephone Anthony (2017-18), LB Deon Lacey (2019)

The debate:

As we move to 44, it's hard to go against cornerback Paul Lankford as the top choice, given that he played 10 seasons with the Dolphins and was a starter for half of those. He ended up with a total of 72 starts and had 13 interceptions, including four in 1985, and three in both 1984 and 1987. The only other player who could make a claim for top spot for number 44 is fullback Rob Konrad, a second-round pick in the 1999 draft. Konrad started 57 games in six seasons. Though he arrived as more of a threat with the ball in his hands than a blocker, he never put up big numbers, with career highs of 251 yards rushing and 34 catches. Pete Jaquess started 14 games over the Dolphins' first two seasons and had three interceptions in 1966. Barry Hill joined the Dolphins as a fifth-round pick in 1975 and was named the team's Outstanding Special Teams Player as a rookie. He then started the first six games in the secondary in 1976 before an injury landed him on IR and he never played in the NFL again. Safety Jordan Kovacs played 28 games, almost exclusively on special teams after bouncing on and off the roster and practice squad over the course of three seasons.

Worth noting:

Charles Cornelius played 29 games for the Dolphins over two seasons before being traded to the 49ers in 1979. ... Doug Beaudoin had started 20 games the previous two seasons with New England when he joined the Dolphins in 1980, but he was a backup for his 10 games in Miami. ... Bobby Humphrey served primarily as a third-down back after coming over from Denver in a trade for fellow former No. 1 pick Sammie Smith, but he made a clear contribution in the passing game with 54 receptions. ... Evans was signed as a free agent in 2005, but was released after six games, two of which he started. Evans went on to play three-plus seasons with the Patriots and two with the Saints, with who he won a Super Bowl in the 2009 season. ... Worrell played 56 games in the NFL and his only seven starts came with the Dolphins in 2007. ... Anthony was a backup for 24 games after arriving in a trade with New Orleans and he returned to the Saints in 2019 after being released last summer by the Falcons and the Jets. He's currently a free agent.

The top three:

1. CB Paul Lankford

2. FB Rob Konrad

3. DB Barry Hill

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