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Ranking the Dolphins' Rookie Class Based On Jersey Numbers

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Talent evaluation based on a player’s school or merit? Completely overrated. Scouting with tape from college and projecting it to an NFL system? No need to bother. When attempting to evaluate how successful a player will be in the NFL, all you really need to do is check the jersey number.

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8. Jakeem Grant (#19)

Technically, Jakeem Grant is not a wide receiver for the Dolphins. He will receive the "offensive weapon" designation assigned initially to Denard Robisnon of the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, does not being a receiver exempt you from the curse of #19?

The Dolphins have had historically rotten luck with this number. Brandon Marshall, Ted Ginn, and Legedu Naanee are the most recent examples of "19 Curse." However, could this extend back even further?

When Dan Marino went down with a torn Achilles, Scott Mitchell was forced into action as his back. This left-handed No. 19 ended up forsaking the Dolphins to sign a lucrative deal with the Lions, essentially becoming Matt Flynn before Matt Flynn.

Could this evil precedent for overpaying quarterbacks be traced back to Scott Mitchell’s Dolphins departure? Could that be enough to anger the football gods?

Let’s be honest. If Jakeem Grant doesn’t succeed, it won’t be because he’s 5’6" or weighs well under 180lbs. It will be because he chose to wear the number 19.

7. Brandon Doughty (#6)

Is it possible to see a quarterback wearing the number 6 without picturing a certain ex-Jets’ passer running full speed into his own lineman’s posterior and fumbling the ball? Not for me.

In college Doughty wore No. 12. Clearly that will be off-limits in Miami. However, there were better options than No. 6. Yes we get it; it’s half of the number 12. But really, we’d be more impressed by your math skills if you wore 9 and said that it is ¼ of your college number squared.

I read that 14 times to make sure I didn’t mess it up, and I still am not confident.

6. Xavien Howard (#25)

This is the divider between the good and the bad. Sure, Richard Sherman has become a successful corner in a zone scheme wearing No. 25, but it is not remembered consistently for cornerbacks.

There really aren’t many conclusions to draw here. Much like the Xavien Howard pick itself, it seems like a reach due to dire need. Except this time we’re reaching for justification.

5. Kenyan Drake (#32)

This is my "I can’t rationally explain why I like this number but god damnit I like it" pick. I think Drake will look great in No. 32. Sue me.

Since they are playing opposite sides of the ball, Jason Allen couldn’t factor in as a negative in Drake’s number choice. Regardless of what he will wear, his last name being Drake will provide me with enough material.

Started from the Backup.

Views from the Sticks.

"Drake really displayed a lot of energy on that run."

You guys get the gist. I also understand if this is when you stop reading.

4. Thomas Duarte (#83)

For most tight ends, I would not factor in Mark Clayton to the choice of No. 83. However, Duarte is a different case. He was a receiver at UCLA and projects as a passing weapon in the NFL. He will not be doing much blocking and will do his damage down the field.

You know what that means?

83 downfield.

Dolphins fans will enjoy this one. While Mark Clayton and Thomas Duarte aren’t exactly lookalikes (maybe if you close your eyes and tilt your head), it’ll be fun to see 83 going downfield in the Dolphins’ throwback uniforms.

3. Leonte Carroo (#88)

No. 88 is a classic for receivers. Michael Irvin, a Miami native, torched defenses for years wearing the double 8s as a Dallas Cowboy. Now, Dez Bryant terrorizes defenses in the classic number. Neither are burners, and both of them made plays through determination and by fighting for the ball. Sure, the Playmaker might have been a bit flashier, but Dez Bryant and Leonte Carroo are cut from a similar mold in terms of how they attack the game.

There’s a smoothness to number 88. There is also an intimidation factor. Some numbers can bring back memories without necessarily evoking them on the field. However, No. 88 is so distinct for a receiver that I cannot help but see Bryant and Irvin highlight reels flash across my eyes.

There’s nothing wrong at all with this pick, and Carroo will look great in 88 as a Miami Dolphin.

2. Jordan Lucas (#21)

There is nothing cooler than a defensive back wearing No. 21. Deion "Prime Time" Sanders’ swagger and electric style of play eternally etched a sense of cool into this number.

Dolphins fans probably associate 21 with Jim Kiick. I can’t fault you for that, but when you’re talking about a different side of the ball, it’s tough to believe that a player made a conscious decision to revive a classic number. If they were playing the same position, it would be hard to beat bringing back the numeral from a classic member of Miami’s 1970s backfield.

However, you don’t really need any help to make No. 21 cool. If you play defensive back and pick that number, chances are you have a great deal of confidence. Swagger is an important part of the position, and it seems tough not to have it donning the number of Prime Time.

1. Laremy Tunsil (#67)

Bob Kuechenberg is one of the most under appreciate Dolphins of all-time. He was consistently overshadowed, playing on a line that also included Hall of Fame blockers Jim Langer, Larry Little, and Dwight Stephenson. It’s tough to justify retiring an offensive lineman’s number if they aren’t in Canton, partially because there are so many players in training camp at the position each year.

So, it’s great to see some honor thrown in Kuechenberg’s direction.

Terrence Fede occupies Laremy Tunsil’s No. 78, so he had to go with an alternate. I am not sure if Tunsil was briefed in the team’s history and highly doubt that it had any impact on his decision. However, for 13 seasons (not counting the 1984 season he spent in the training room), the Dolphins sent out a lineman wearing No. 67. Six times that man went to the Pro Bowl. Two times he was a First-Team All-Pro. He also currently wears two Super Bowl rings.

Bob Kuechenberg was incredibly consistent for the Dolphins, and it will be a great visual to once again see No. 67 blocking for the quarterback. Yes, Keuchenberg was a career guard and Tunsil will be a left tackle when it’s all said and done. Even if the history of the numeral did not impact his decision, it’s something that fans can universally approve of as Laremy Tunsil attempts to assume a role as the anchor of the Dolphins’ offensive line for years to come.

Please note: Numbers are subject to change. If they do change, and it isn’t May/June, I probably won’t be struggling this much to find content and it will go unnoted. If they change before training camp, then I’ll be damned they’re just throwing me a bone.