Number 87 and the Three Dolphins Who Wore It Best

The Dolphins have had 22 players wear that number, but little contribution from any of them
Wide receiver Erik Ezukanma runs on the field during rookie minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex in 2022.
Wide receiver Erik Ezukanma runs on the field during rookie minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex in 2022. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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The countdown to the start of the 2024 regular season has begun now that we're under 100 days away, so we'll honor every day the best players to wear the corresponding number for the Dolphins.

Today, we're at number 87.

The top players at each number so far have been Jason Taylor at 99, Jared Odrick at 98Phillip Merling at 97Paul Soliai at 96Tim Bowens at 95Randy Starks at 94,  Trace Armstrong at 93John Denney at 92Cameron Wake at 91Marco Coleman at 90,  Nat Moore at 89, and Keith Jackson at 88.

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 87 for at least one regular season game for the Dolphins:

WR John Roderick (1966-67), TE Jim Mertens (1969), WR Willie Richardson (1970), TE Andre Tillman (1975-78), TE Dan Johnson (1983-87), TE Rich Siler (1987), TE David Lewis (1987), WR James Pruitt (1990), TE Charles Henry (1991), WR Mike Williams (1991-95), WR Kirby Dar Dar (1996), WR Yatil Green (1999), WR Bert Emanuel (2000), WR Dedric Ward (2001-02), TE Lorenzo Diamond (2005), TE Justin Peelle (2006-07), WR Anthony Armstrong (2012), TE Ryan Spadola (2013), WR Rashawn Scott (2016-17), TE Clive Walford (2019), WR Isaiah Ford (2021), WR Erik Ezukanma (2022)

The debate on the best 87 on the Dolphins

There's no way to put this politely: The Dolphins have gotten next to nothing in terms of production from the number 87. The 22 players who have worn the number in a regular season for the Dolphins consist mostly of backups or journeymen, though the one guy who stands out is Yatil Green, who was the 15th overall pick in the 1997 draft but saw his career derailed by knee injuries before it even started. Andre Tillman joined the Dolphins as a second-round pick in 1975 and started 52 games over the next four seasons. He had a career-high 31 catches in 1978. Dan Johnson was a seventh-round pick in 1983 and he started all 32 games his first two seasons before taking on a backup role. He had 16 touchdowns in five seasons, plus another in Super Bowl XIX.  Mike Williams appeared in 59 games in five seasons, but was mostly a special teams player. He had 32 catches in 1994, but only nine in his other four seasons. Dedric Ward had 40 catches in two seasons with the Dolphins after having 54 for the Jets in 2000. Justin Peelle started 20 games at tight end in his two seasons. It's honestly tough to come up with three candidates worthy of accolades here.

The top three Dolphins players with number 87

1. TE Andre Tillman

2. TE Dan Johnson

3. TE Justin Peelle

Dolphins 87's among the NFL's all-time best

No really need to mention the Dolphins here, so we'll just point out there are three Hall of Famers who wore predominantly 87 are Dave Casper, Willie Davis and Claude Humphrey.


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Alain Poupart

ALAIN POUPART

Alain Poupart is the publisher/editor of AllDolphins.com and co-host of the All Dolphins Podcast. Alain has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989 for various publications and media outlets, including Dolphin Digest, The Associated Press, the Dolphins team website, and the Fan Nation Network (part of Sports Illustrated). In addition to being a credentialed member of the Miami Dolphins press corps, Alain has covered three Super Bowls (for NFL.com, Football News and the Montreal Gazette), the annual NFL draft, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL Scouting Combine. During his almost 40 years in journalism, which began at the now-defunct Miami News, Alain has covered practically every sport at one time or another, from tennis to golf, baseball, basketball and everything in between. The career also included time as a copy editor, including work on several books such as "Still Perfect," an inside look at the Miami Dolphins' 1972 perfect season. A native of Montreal, Canada, whose first language is French, Alain grew up a huge hockey fan but soon developed a love for all sports, including NFL football. He has lived in South Florida since the 1980s.