Top 10 Miami Dolphins draft busts


The thought of the Miami Dolphins drafting the next great Dolphin excites me every draft.

I’m equally fearful of the thought of the Miami Dolphins drafting the next big Dolphin bust.

Today we’re going to talk about the latter, in the hopes that Dennis Hickey can avoid busting in this year’s draft, and because it’s fun to torture ourselves by looking at the many mistakes of our boys in aqua and orange.

Here’s the top-10 draft busts in Miami Dolphins history, and by draft busts, I mean first and second round picks only.

10. J.J. Johnson, Running Back-Mississippi State

Remember when the Dolphins had Marino and every year talked about how this was the year they were going to successfully run the ball and give Dan that compliment on the ground?

Here’s one of those failed picks, a pick that the Dolphins traded down and out of the first round to acquire.

Johnson would play for the Dolphins for three seasons, running for 748 yards and five touchdowns on 219 attempts.

9. John Beck, Quarterback-BYU

Cam Cameron thought very highly of Beck, a quarterback that he selected in the second round instead of selecting Brady Quinn in the first round.

Come to think of it, maybe Cameron had the right idea here, as Quinn turned out to be an even bigger draft bust due to him getting drafted in Round 1, Beck at least went in Round 2 and was expendable by the next season.

8. Jason Allen, Cornerback-Tennessee

First mistake made by Nick Saban with this pick was choosing Jason Allen over Antonio Cromartie.

The second mistake was attempting to play Allen at safety, where he was just as bad (if not worse) than he was at cornerback.

7. Jonathan Martin, Tackle-Stanford

Take away the off field issues and what you have is a sub-par football player that in two years went from being a second round pick to getting traded to a conditional seventh round pick.

6. Yatil Green, Wide Receivers-Miami

I feel bad placing players on this list who had their careers cut short due to injury, but with all of the high hopes surrounding Yatil Green after Miami drafted him in 1997 (along with the rest of that stellar draft class that includes Jason Taylor and Sam Madison), it was worth an inclusion.

The good news: Miami could’ve very easily have drafted Rae Carruth, which would’ve been an unmitigated disaster.

5. John Avery, Running Back-Mississippi

Other than the fact that John Avery had most of his success in the XFL, what really hurts about this pick is Miami traded out of the 19th pick in this draft. Available at that pick: Vonnie Holliday (drafted at that spot by Green Bay), and some wide receiver from Marshall that went to Minnesota two picks later named Randy Moss.

4. Ted Ginn Jr, Wide Receiver-Ohio State

We need our thumbs to go this direction, towards Darrelle Revis, who Miami passed on despite needing secondary help in order to draft Ginn and his family.

3. Pat White, Quarterback-West Virginia

Even back in 2009, this was a dumb pick, as Miami chose a quarterback not to compete with Chad Henne (and with Chad Pennington coming off of a great season), but to run that gimmicky Wildcat offense.

Remember the WildPat? Defenses did, they knew what Pat White wouldn’t do when he was on the field: pass. Just a dumb pick overall, and to me the personification of the Bill Parcells-tenure in Miami.

2. Eddie Moore, Linebacker-Tennessee

The Dolphins needed help at wide receiver going into the 2003 Draft, but did not need a linebacker (not only was Zach Thomas still in his prime, but they had just signed Junior Seau). So, why pick a linebacker here instead of Anquan Boldin? One of the many reasons why the Dave Wannstedt-Rick Spielman-era was a disaster for the Dolphins.

1. Sammie Smith, Running Back-Florida State

Smith was horrible from the beginning, as he began his tenure with the Dolphins with a contract holdout. Once he saw the field, Smith was fumble-prone (a problem he had in college) and never put up a 1,000 yard season.

Smith also holds the distinction of being the only Dolphin to need a police escort out of his own stadium, per this story on

“In a game against the Houston Oilers in 1991, the Dolphins were trailing late in the 4th quarter. Marino drove the team to the goal line. With time running out, Smith took the hand-off, went over the top and fumbled the ball away. Houston recovered and held on to win 17 – 13. It was a carbon copy of a play from the previous week, where Smith fumbled into the end zone against the Chiefs. That one was run back for a touchdown. The back to back fumbles were labeled the “Double Whammy on Sammie”. Fans had seen enough of Sammie Smith and what followed was one of the ugliest scenes in professional sports. The entire stadium erupted in chants of “Sammie Sucks”. Smith needed a police escort from the stadium. …his own stadium. He said after the game that he doubted he could play for the Dolphins anymore. He was right.”

Ouch! That alone makes Smith number one on this list.


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