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Miami Dolphins All Time Depth Chart - Linebacker #1

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04:  Linebacker Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins is introduced against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04: Linebacker Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins is introduced against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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The Phinsider Community All Time Miami Dolphins Depth Chart moves from defensive end to linebacker today. While there are a ton of worthy nominees on the list below, the first slot is probably an easy guess. However, before we get to that, we have to reveal the fourth defensive end to make the depth chart.

Doug Betters sneaks out the final slot, beating Trace Armstrong by 10 votes. The Dolphins took Betters in the sixth round of the 1978 Draft, playing all ten his of his career in Miami. He would start 105 games, appearing in another 41 contests, and tally 43.5 sacks over his career (sacks only started being counted as a stat beginning in 1982, five years into his career). Betters was named to the Pro Bowl and a First Team All Pro in 1983, the first of two double digit seasons in sacks he had (16 in 1983 and 14 in 1984).

Now, with the defensive ends complete, we can officially turn to the linebackers. Over the course of their existanace, the Dolphins have bounced back and forth between a 3-4 and a 4-3 style of defense (as well as the 53 defense, but that's really a modified 3-4), so the linebackers are extremely diverse. Does a solid tackler, but not overly great player like Channing Crowder get love over someone who was able to rush the quarterback at will, but wasn't really able to do much else, like Joey Porter? Whatever the answer is, we will find out over the next few days.

The current depth chart looks like:

1st String

2nd String

3rd String

4th String

5th String

6th String


Dan Marino Bob Griese Chad Pennington


Mark Clayton Paul Warfield Mark Duper Nat Moore O.J. McDuffie Chris Chambers


Randy McMichael Keith Jackson Jim Mandich


Ricky Williams Mercury Morris Ronnie Brown Jim Kiick


Larry Csonka


Richmond Webb Jake Long Norm Evans Vernon Carey


Larry Little Bob Kuechenberg Keith Sims Ed Newman


Dwight Stephenson Jim Langer


Jason Taylor Bill Stanfill Vern Den Herder Doug Betters


Tim Bowens Bob Baumhower






The nominees for the linebacker slots include anyone who has played 45 or more games for the Dolphins, leaving us with 34 nominees for the six slots. They are:

Frank Emanuel - Emanuel was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round of the 1966 AFL draft, as well as in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL draft. He joined Miami, where as a rookie he started 11 of 14 games in which he appeared. He would go on to have a five year career, starting 31 of 59 appearances, with four interceptions and one fumble recovered.

Nick Buoniconti - After being drafted by the Boston Patriots in the 13th round of the 1962 draft, and playing with them through the 1968 season, Buoniconti joined the Dolphins befor ethe 1969 season. During his seven seasons with Miami, he would start 81 games, appearing in 11 more, with eight interceptions, one fumble recovery, and over 750 tackles. He would be named to the Pro Bowl in the 1972 and 1973 seasons (along with six Pro Bowls with the Patriots, and five First Team All Pro selections). Buoniconti was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Jesse Powell - The Dolphins selected Powell in the ninth round of the 1969 Draft. He would serve solely as a backup linebacker during his five years with the Dolphins before his career was cut short when a knee injury three games into the 1973 season sidelined him for the year. He appeared in 56 games with the Dolphins, and was a member of the 1972 Perfect Season, as the Dolphins won Super Bowl VII.

Mike Kolen - A twelfth round selection by the Dolphins in the 1970 Draft, Kolen immediately became a starting linebacker for Miami. He would start 74 of the 86 games in which he would appear, tallying five career interceptions and somewhere north of 500 career tackles. Kolen would retire after the 1977 season as injuries began to take their toll.

Doug Swift - Swift went undrafted in the 1970 Draft, signing with the Dolphins after the selection meeting. He would start eight games in his rookie season, before establishing himself as the starting strong-side linebacker through the 1975 season. He would record five interceptions in his career, along with recovery of four fumbles and an estimated 425 tackles. Rather than play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who selected him in the 1976 expansion draft, Swift retired from football.

Bob Matheson - Matheson was the first round pick of the Cleveland Brown in 1967, playing four seasons with the Browns before moving to the Miami Dolphins in 1971. With the Dolphins, Matheson spent time as both a starting linebacker, and a reserve, ultimately appearing in 125 games, with 55 of those being starts. He picked off eight passes with the Dolphins, as well as recovering five fumbles, as well as approximately 500 tackles.

Larry Ball - Ball wasdrafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 1972 draft. He spent three seasons as a reserve linebacker, before moving on to the Detroit Lions for the 1975 season. A year later he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before rejoining the Dolphins in 1977, retiring after the 1978 season. In his five seasons with Miami, he appeared in 52 games, all as a backup, with one interception and two fumbles recovered.

Earnest Rhone - Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1975, Rhone would spend nine seasons over ten years with the Dolphins, missing all of the 1976 season due to injury. He would record nearly 1,000 tackles with Miami, as well as 14 interceptions, and four fumbles recovered in 116 games player, with 54 starts.

Steve Towle - Towle was selected in the sixth round of the 1975 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. He would have a six year career with the year, starting 60 games, while appearing in an additional 18. He would tally 3 interceptions and 7 fumble recoveries before he retired after the 1980 season.

Larry Gordon - Drafted by Miami with the team's first round selection in 1976, Gordon would spend seven years with the Dolphins. He would play in exactly 100 game,s starting all but two of them. He would officially tally 3 sacks (the NFL only began counting sacks in 1982), with eight interceptions, and ten recovered fumbles. He also recorded one safety in his career. Unofficially, he had 591 tackles, and 15 additional sacks, beside the three official ones.

Rusty Chambers - Chambers was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane in 1975 by the New Orleans Saints. Four games into the 1976 season, the Saints would waive Chambers, who was claimed by Miami, where he would eventually play five seasons with the team. He would start 45 games, appearing in 72 total, for Miami, recording two interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Chambers would be killed in a car accident on July 1, 1981 when their car spun off a highway just before midnight.

A.J. Duhe - Miami selected Duhe with the 13th overall pick in the 1977 Draft. Duhe would spend his first two seasons with the Dolphins as the starting right defensive end, before making the shift to inside linebacker, starting in the 1979 season. Ultimately, he would start 89 games, appearing in an additional 19 games, with three interceptions, six fumbles recovered, and 8.5 official sacks. Adding in unofficial stats, Duhe's numbers jump to approximately 480 tackles and 38 sacks. He will forever be a part of Miami lore, after a three interception, second-half performance during the 1982 AFC Championship "Mud Bowl" game in the Orange Bowl. Duhe was released by the Dolphins after the 1984 season, his only Pro Bowl year.

Bob Brudzinski - Brudzinski was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the first round in 1977, where he would serve as one of the team's starting linebackers for four years before he literally walked out on the team nine games into the season, protesting what he felt was under-payment. In 1981, after the Rams released him, Brudzinski would sign with the Dolphins, where he would start at left outside linebacker for seven seasons and playing in a reserve role for two more. During those nine seasons in Miami, Brudzinski started 94 games, with 125 total appearances, grabbing five interceptions with six fumble recoveries. Officially he had 14.5 sacks in his Miami career, but that does not account for any sacks he gained in his 1981 season with Miami. Unofficially, he had approximately 500 tackles in his career.

Mark Brown - Brown was the Dolphins' ninth round selection in the 1983 Draft. He would spend six years with Miami, before playing three seasons with the Detroit Lions. With the Dolphins, Brown would appear in 84 games, starting 60. He would record 10.5 sacks, four interceptions, and eight fumbles recovered.

Jackie Shipp - Shipp was selected with the 14th overall pick in the 1984 Draft by Miami. He would spend five years with the Dolphins, starting 42 of his 71 appearances. He would record one sack, grab one interception, and recover three fumbles in his career. In 1989, Shipp would play three games with the Los Angeles Raiders before retiring.

Hugh Green - Green began his career as the seventh overall selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1981 draft. After four-plus seasons, including two Pro Bowl appearances and several injuries, the Buccaneers traded Green to the Dolphins in the middle of the 1985 seasons. With the Dolphins, Green would spend the majority of his time as the starting right outside linebacker for the team, starting 66 of his 82 appearances. He would tally one interception and four fumble recoveries, as well as 22 sacks with Miami.

John Offerdahl - Drafted in the second round in 1986, Offerdahl would reward the Dolphins with five Pro Bowls and one First Team All American selection (1990) during his eight year career. Offerdahl would burst onto the scene as a rookie, starting all 15 games in which he would appear, and earning the first of those Pro Bowls. He would not miss a Pro Bowl until 1991, when he only appeared in 6 games for the Dolphins. He would add just 17 games more to his total games played for the team over his final two years. Over his career, Offerdahl would have four interceptions, one fumble recovery, and 9.5 sacks. He would tally more than 500 tackles over his eight seasons.

E.J. Junior - Junior would spend just three seasons with the Dolphins, right in the middle of his career. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals with the fifth overall pick in 1981, and he would play for the Cardinals through their 1988 season in Phoenix, earning two Pro Bowls and a First Team All-Pro selection during that span. In 1989, he would join the Dolphins, where he would spend the first year as the starting left outside linebacker. During his next two seasons, he would serve as a reserve linebacker, appearing in all 32 games in 1990 and 1991, but not starting any of them. He would then spend two games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and five games with the Seattle Seahakws in 1992, before retiring after one more year with the Seahawks in 1993. While in Miami, Junior recorded 12 sacks in 48 games played, with 12 starts.

David Griggs - Miami chose Griggs in the 1989 Draft with their seventh round pick. In five seasons with the Dolphins, he would record 62 appearances with 45 starts, tallying 14.5 sacks and four fumbles recovered, as well as 227 tackles.

Bryan Cox - Cox would reward the Dolphins' fifth round selection of him in 1991 with five seasons starting at either right outside linebacker or middle linebacker. He would start all 77 games in which he would appear with Miami, missing just three games, over those five years, as a rookie. He would leave Miami with 31.5 sacks, three interceptions, 14 forced fumbles, six fumbles recovery, and 529 tackles. He was selected to the 1992, 1994, and 1995 Pro Bowls, and well as being a 1992 First Team All-Pro selection. He would leave Miami after the 1995 season, playing two years with the Chicago Bears, three with the New York Jets, one with the New England Patriots, and one with the New Orleans Saints.

Dwight Hollier - The Dolphins selected Hollier in the fourth round of the 1992 Draft. He would spend eight seasons with the Dolphins, starting 54 of the 122 games in which he played. He would record 321 tackles, with two sacks, one forced fumble, and seven fumbles recovered.

Chris Singleton - Singleton was the New England Patriots' first round pick (eighth overall) in 1990, playing three-and-a-half seasons with the Patriots before becoming a Dolphin. He would spend three-and-a-half years with the Dolphins, playing 50 games, with 39 starts, during that time, coming up with 189 tackles, three sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, and four fumbles recovered.

Zach Thomas - Thomas was a fifth round selection by the Dolphins in 1996, falling down draft board because he was too small to play in the NFL. During his twelve seasons with the Dolphins, Thomas would play 168 games (third most in team history behind Dan Marino and Thomas' brother-in-law Jason Taylor), starting all of them, and be named to seven Pro Bowls (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006), and five First Team All Pro Selections (1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006) (oddly, being a First Team All Pro in 1998, without being a Pro Bowler). He would record a team record 1,639 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 17 interceptions (with four touchdowns), 16 forced fumbles, and seven fumble recoveries. He would spend one season with the Dallas Cowboys after being released by the Dolphins after the 2007 season. He would join the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, but would never play for the team, retiring due to repeated concussions.

Larry Izzo - Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1996, Izzo would become a special teams work horse for the AFC East through 13 years in the league. He started off with the Dolphins, appearing in 61 games, making one Pro Bowl in 2000. He would record just seven tackles with the Dolphins (special teams tackles are not officially recorded by the NFL), but seemed to be on every play on special teams. When he moved to the New England Patriots, Izzo would continue to be a special teams star, making two more Pro Bowls, before spending one final season with the New York Jets before spinal injury forced him to retire.

O.J. Brigance - Brigance went through the 1996 NFL Draft without hearing his name called, and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dolphins. He would spend four seasons with the team, serving primarily as a reserve linebacker and a special teams player. He would record just one tackle (see note within Larry Izzo's write up about special teams tackles), and one fumble recovery during his 60 games played in Miami. He would spend the 2000 season with the Baltimore Ravens, then the 2001 and a portion of the 2002 season with the St. Louis Rams, before ending his career in 2002 with the New England Patriots.

Derrick Rodgers - The Dolphins selected Rodgers in the third round in the 1997 Draft. He would immediately establish himself as the starting weak side linebacker, where he started 14 games as a rookie, recording five sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and 80 tackles. In his second season, Rodgers would be moved to the strong side, where he would start for Miami for five more years. Before he left the Dolphins for two final seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Rodgers had started 88 games of the 93 in which he appeared, record 378 tackles, nine sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles, and three fumbles recovered.

Robert Jones - Jones spent four years with the Dallas Cowboys as the team's starting middle linebacker after they drafted him in the first round of the 1992 Draft. He would then move on to the St. Louis Rams for two seasons before landing with the Dolphins in 1998. While with Miami, Jones would start at weak side linebacker, starting 47 of his 48 appearances with the team. He would total 206 tackles, five sacks, two interception (one touchdown), and one fumble recovery with Miami, before spending his final year in the league with the Washington Redskins.

Tommy Hendricks - Hedricks signed as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan in 2000 joining the Dolphins as a reserve linebacker and special teams player. In four seasons with Miami, he would play 56 games, starting just three. Hendricks would tally one forced fumble and 31 tackles as a linebacker with the Dolphins.

Morlon Greenwood - Greenwood was selected in the third round of the 2001 draft by the Dolphins. He would immediately start at weak-side linebacker for Miami, ultimately starting 51 of the 62 games in which he appeared, over four seasons with the Dolphins. He woud record 298 tackles, three sacks, and five passes defensed before leaving Miami for four seasons with the Houston Texans.

Derrick Pope - The Dolphins selected Pope in the seventh round in 2004, spending the majority of his career as a reserve linebacker and special teams player. Over his four years in Miami, Pope would start 14 games, mostly in the 2007 seaosn, when he took over as the starting middle linebacker for nine games, appearing in a total of 55 games. He would tally 149 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown).

Channing Crowder- Drafted in the third round of the 2005 Draft, Crowder would frustrate Miami fans for six seasons. While fans would look for Crowder to make big plays for the team, his game was more of a solid tackler, who served as the spirit and leader of the defense. H ewould start 74 games, appearing in eight more, and tally 371 tackles. He would also record three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one interception, and two-and-a-half sacks. After the 2010 season, the Dolphins released Crowder who decided to "retire" rather than move his pregnant wife to some other city. He has stated he plans to return to play in 2011, but so far has not signed with anyone.

Donnie Spragan - Spragan initially signed as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2002. After three seasons in Denver, Spragan signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2005. He never missed a game over three years with Miami (nor did he miss a game with denver), but he would only start 23 of the 48 games over that span. He would record 139 tackles, with 2.5 sacks, one interception, six passes defensed, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

Joey Porter - Porter was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1999 Draft's third round, serving as the team's starting right outside linebacker for eight years, with three Pro Bowl appearances and one First Team All Pro selection. In 2007, Porter joined the Dolphins, adding a dynamic pass rushing threat opposite Jason Taylor. In his three seaons with Miami (45 starts in 46 appearances), Porter recorded 154 tackles, 32 sacks, two interceptions, seven passes defensed, six forced fumbles, and two fumbles recovered. He also made the 2008 Pro Bowl with the Dolphins, after a 17.5 sack season. After the 2009 season, the Dolphins released Porter, who grumbled his way to the Arizona Cardinals, where he has played the last two years.

Cameron Wake - After being signed as an undrafted free agent and subsequently released by the New Yorks Giants in 2005, Wake joined the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League, switching positions from a linebacker to a defensive end. After two years with BC, Wake signed as a free agent with the Dolphins, after getting calls from 17 NFL teams, and working out for eight, following his 2008 Most Outstanding Defensive Player performance in the CFL. Over the past three seasons, Wake has developed into one of the most dominating pass rushers in the league, playing as an outside linebacker, but lining up as a defensive end on most plays. He has started 31 of 46 games, recording 112 tackles, with 28 sacks, eight passes defensed, and four forced fumbles. Wake made the 2010 Pro Bowl, with a 14 sack season.

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