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 the Dallas 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.
Quarterbacks Running Backs Tight Ends Offensive Line Wide Receiver Defensive Ends Defensive Tackles Linebackers
The defense continues to be built today with the cornerbacks.
Starters: Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain
Reserves: Terrell Buckley, Curtis Johnson
Madison was drafted in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft, spending his first year as a reserve defensive back before establishing himself as the starting right cornerback for the club. He played nine seasons with the Dolphins, from 1997 to 2005, starting 127 of his 138 appearances for the team. He recorded 357 tackles with 1 sack, 9 forced fumbles, and 4 recoveries with one returned for a touchdown. He tallied 31 interceptions, with two touchdown returns, and 55 passes defensed. He was selected to four Pro Bowls, each year from 1999 to 2002, as well as being a First-Team All-Pro in 1999 and 2000. He led the league in interceptions in 1999 with seven after being second in 1998 with eight. He has the most interceptions for a cornerback in Dolphins history, trailing just safeties Jake Scott (35) and Dick Anderson (34) on the list.
Surtain joined Miami as a second-round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, working his way up to become the second half of the team's top cornerback duo of all time, paired with Madison. In seven seasons with the Dolphins, Surtain appeared in 108 games, with 82 starts. He recorded 341 tackles, with 6.5 sacks. He also forced four fumbles, with five recoveries. He intercepted 29 passes during his Dolphins career, with two returned for touchdowns, and defended 51 passes. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2002, 2003, and 2004, as well as being a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2002. Surtain is second among cornerbacks in interceptions and fifth overall on the team's all-time list.
Buckley began his career as a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, then moved to the Dolphins in 1995 after three seasons with the Packers. He played five years with the Dolphins before a year with the Denver Broncos and two years with the New England Patriots, followed by a sixth seasons in South Florida. In those six years, T-Buck appeared in 96 contests, with 68 starts, recording 300 tackles, 1 sack, 6 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown), 24 interceptions (with three touchdown returns), and seven passes defensed.
Johnson was a fourth-round selection of the Dolphins in the 1970 Draft, playing nine seasons for the club. He stated all 14 games his rookie year at left cornerback, then settled on the right side for the remained of his career, playing 125 games with 113 starts. He recovered eight fumbles in his career with 22 interceptions. He unofficially tallied over 500 tackles in his career.
We will finish the defense with the safeties tomorrow.