The Miami Dolphins will celebrate their 50th NFL season this year, spanning from 1966 to 2015. Thousands of players have hit the field for the team over that time, helping the team appear in five Super Bowls, winning two of them, including the only undefeated season in league history. Despite spending the last decade stuck in a purgatory of mediocrity, the Dolphins are still hold the fourth highest winning percentage in the NFL at .565, behind just theDallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers.
The team has eight Hall of Famer players, Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Larry Little, Dan Marino, Dwight Stephenson, and Paul Warfield, plus one Hall of Fame coach Don Shula. Another three Hall of Famers, Cris Carter, Junior Seau, and Thurman Thomas, all had brief stints in aqua on their way to Canton.
As we all look forward to better days for the Dolphins from this rut that has been the franchise since the turn of the century, we can also look back at one of the premier franchises of the NFL as they turn 50. We will do that over the next few days as we build the Miami Dolphins' 50th Season Depth Chart.
We continue into our third day of building the depth chart by taking a look at the tight end position.
This was actually a really tough position, and, in trying to build a 53-man roster, I am not 100 percent that I got this right. It is hard to justify four tight ends on the depth chart, especially when you add in a fullback on the roster as well, but I do not know who to cut either. In the end, I may have sacrificed some other deserving players to make the list in order to get all four of these guys on the roster.
First Team: Randy McMichael
Second Team: Keith Jackson
Third Team: Bruce Hardy
Fourth Team: Jim Mandich
McMichael was selected in the fourth round of the 2002 Draft by the Dolphins and started every game in his five seasons with the team. He caught 283 passes over that span, recording 3,096 yards with 18 touchdowns. He has the most career receiving yards for a tight end in team history, 14th overall, as well as the most receptions, sitting in ninth overall for the Dolphins.
Jackson was the impetus that forced free agency into being within the NFL, joining the Dolphins in a court mandated free-agency period at the start of the 1992 season. Jackson was never able to match the All-Pro selections he received with the Philadelphia Eagles, but as a member of the Dolphins, he caught 146 passes for 1,880 yards and 18 touchdowns over a three-year span. He was selected to the 1992 Pro Bowl.
Hardy's longevity and versatility could make an argument for him to actually be the top tight end in team history. After being a ninth-round pick for the Dolphins, Hardy played 12 years for the team, catching 256 passes for 2,455 yards, with 25 touchdowns. He still ranks seventh in team history in touchdown receptions, the top tight end on the list.
Finally, Mandich was a second-round pick for the Dolphins in 1970.He played eight years for Miami, catching 121 passes for 1,406 yards with 23 touchdowns. He sits just behind Hardy on the team's career touchdown receptions list, tied with Anthony Fasano and Howard Twilley for eighth.
Tomorrow, we will continue our depth chart with the 50th Anniversary offensive line.