Curtis Johnson was a 6'1 defensive back for the Toledo Rockets. Miami picked him up with their fourth round pick of the 1970 NFL Entry Draft, with the 81st overall pick. He would don the number 45 jersey throughout his NFL career.
As a rookie, Johnson started all 14 Miami games at left cornerback, making around 70 tackles and picking off three passes, recovering four fumbles. He made six tackles and intercepted two Daryle LaMonica passes in a week three 20-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Miami made their first ever postseason appearance with a 10-4 record.
In 1971, Johnson was moved to right cornerback, where he appeared in every game, starting 10. He made around 60 tackles, blocking a field goal and picking off two passes. He also made an interception in Miami's 27-24 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional playoff round. Miami posted an overall record of 10-3-1, winning two playoff games on their path to SBVI.
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1972 would see Johnson start 13 of the 14 Miami regular season games in which he appeared. He made an estimated 50 tackles, intercepting passes in three of the final four weeks of the regular season. He also blocked three punts during the season. In the postseason Divisional round, he picked off Cleveland Browns quarterback Mike Phipps as the Dolphins won, 20-14. Of course, Miami posted a perfect 14-0 record en route to the only perfect season in NFL history. The defense led the NFL by allowing only 171 points on the season.
Johnson again appeared in every Miami game in 1973, starting 13. He made around 40 tackles and picked off two passes as the Dolphins posted a 12-2 regular season record. Miami's "No-Name Defense" allowed an NFL low 150 points on the season. Johnson picked off Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton in Super Bowl VIII as the Dolphins cruised to a 24-7 victory.
Johnson started 12 games for the Dolphins, appearing in 13 in 1974. Miami posted an 11-3 record, easily winning the AFC East as Johnson made around 50 tackles. The No-Namers allowed an AFC second fewest 216 points, second to the Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh.
1975 would see Johnson start all 14 games for Miami, collecting around 90 tackles and four interceptions. In a week five victory over the New York Jets, he picked off a total of three passes, also recovering a fumble as the Dolphins posted a final score of 43-0. Miami finished the season with a 10-4 record, missing the playoffs.
In 1976, Johnson started nine games, appearing in 13 for the Dolphins. He made around 50 tackles, his only interception on the season was in a week eight victory over the New England Patriots, 10-3. Miami finished the year with a 6-8 record.
Johnson started every game for the Dolphins in 1977 as the team posted a 10-4 record, again missing the playoffs. Johnson made in the neighborhood of 70 tackles while tying his career high with four interceptions. Miami's defense was still pretty good, ranking second in the AFC in points allowed (to the Orange Crush in Denver), with 197.
1978 would see Johnson appear in 15 games for Miami, including 12 starts. He finished the season with around 50 tackles and three interceptions. Miami got back into the playoffs with an 11-5 record, qualifying for the wildcard round.
Johnson started 111 games over nine seasons for the Dolphins, appearing in 125 total. He finished up his career with approximately 530 tackles and 22 interceptions.
Who is your choice for the Dolphins best ever defensive back?
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