Number 50 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 50.

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

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 50 for at least one regular season game:

LB Frank Emanuel (1966-69), LB Dick Palmer (1970), LB Bruce Elia (1975), LB Larry Gordon (1976-82), LB Jackie Shipp (1984-88), LB Greg Storr (1987), LB Dave Ahrens (1989), LB Louis Cooper (1991), LB Dwight Hollier (1992-99), LB Michael Hamilton (2000), LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (2003-04), LB Nick Rogers (2005), LB Edmond Miles (2007), LB Erik Walden (2008-09), LB Bobby Carpenter (2010), DE Olivier Vernon (2012-15), DE Andre Branch (2016-18)

The debate:

Larry Gordon started 98 of 100 games he played for the Dolphins after being a first-round pick in 1976 and was a productive player even though he never made the Pro Bowl. He tragically died shortly before the start of training camp in 1983 when he collapsed while jogging in the desert outside Phoenix. Dwight Hollier started 54 of 122 games in eight seasons with the Dolphins; his best season came in 1993 when he had 94 tackles. Olivier Vernon averaged 8.5 sacks in his three seasons as a starter after being a third-round pick out of the University of Miami in 2012 before signing a huge free agent contract with the New York Giants. His career high for sacks was 11.5, which he did in 2014. Andre Branch was a solid contributor to the Dolphins' playoff run in 2016 when he finished with 5.5 sacks and started 11 games, but injuries began taking their toll and he hasn't played in the NFL since leaving the Dolphins after the 2018 season.

Worth noting:

Emanuel played every game in his four seasons after choosing to sign with the Dolphins in 1966 after being a second-round pick in the AFL draft and a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in the NFL draft. ... Elia played all 14 games for the Dolphins as a rookie fourth-round pick in 1975 but left after being selected by Tampa Bay in the 1976 expansion draft. ... Shipp started 44 games for the Dolphins in five seasons, but overall was a disappointing first-round pick. .. Storr played the three strike-replacement games for the Dolphins in 1987 in his first and only NFL regular season action after being drafted five years earlier. ... Ayanbadejo played two seasons for the Dolphins after coming over from the Canadian Football league, but he went on to become a three-time Pro Bowl special teams player for the Bears and Ravens during his 10-year NFL career. ... Walden wore 50 in his first of two stints with the Dolphins before wearing 53 in 2010. ... Carpenter was signed by Bill Parcells in 2010, four years after Parcells had made him a first-round draft pick but he lasted only five games after a couple of botched special teams assignments.

The top three:

1. LB Larry Gordon

2. DE Olivier Vernon

3. LB Dwight Hollier