Style Over Substance: Ranking the Dolphins’ 2017 Rookie Class Based On Jersey Numbers

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for.

After a stellar performance last offseason, the now-annual rookie jersey-number rankings are back. If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last week nervously speculating about which number each recently selected Dolphin will wear on his jersey in 2017.

A great choice can redefine a generation. Just ask Deion Sanders or Michael Jordan.

A poor choice…well, why don’t you ask anyone who has worn No. 19 in South Florida and see what they say?

Before the event gets underway, I’d like to set a few ground rules:

Number 1: I make the rules. You have made the conscious decision to enter my dojo. There’s no lifeguard on duty here – you’re swimming at your own risk.

Number 2: It could not be any more obvious that these are completely subjective rankings. If you work yourself up into a frenzy (yes, I’m talking to you, random internet commenters) over this list, then you need to take yourself on a major spiritual journey.

Number 3: There’s always someone with far below average reading comprehension and far above average laziness who decides to just click in thinking I’m actually ranking the picks. If you do this and consequently comment in disagreement under false pretenses, I am not above publicly shaming you.

Now, let’s begin.

7) Cordrea Tankersley, No. 30

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I’d expect that Tankersley could look to come down into the 20s if someone currently holding a spot is cut during camp, but the moral of the story is this:

Cornerbacks should never be in the 30s.

Chris Clemons had a really solid run for the Miami Dolphins in No. 30, consistently making plays as one of the NFL’s most underrated safeties.

Running backs and safeties are served well by 30-39, but cornerbacks should always steer clear.

6) Vincent Taylor, No. 53 & Davon Godchaux, No. 56

I tried to dig deep into the numerology for these ones and came up blank. I’m completely neutral.

5) Isaac Asiata, No. 68 

So close.

4) Damore’ea Stringfellow, No. 84

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I honestly could not care less what number Damore’ea Stringfellow wears. If there is an NFL jersey that says Stringfellow just below the shoulder pads, I am 150% in.

(Internet commenters, don’t bother with the “well then you should be ranking them by name” argument. My dojo, my rules.)

3) Charles Harris, No. 90

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Defensive linemen in No. 90 always make me think of two players: Ndamukong Suh, who wore No. 90 in Detroit, and Neil Smith, a legendary pass rusher for the Chiefs and Broncos.

Maybe through osmosis, or some sort of Freaky Friday-like cosmic event, Charles Harris can become the Ndamukong Suh to Lindsay Lohan’s Jamie Lee Curtis. (Just worked in an Ndamukong Suh-Jamie Lee Curtis comparison…anything is possible in the dojo.)

Either way, No. 90 is solid for a defensive linemen. It’s like the Jack Johnson of jersey numbers – sure, you might not go chasing it down, but you aren’t running to the dial to make it go away.

2) Isaiah Ford, No. 15 

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First thing’s first: Davone Bess was Jarvis Landry before it was cool.

Second: How isn’t Davone Bess’ jersey retired?

Isaiah Ford will now have to prove that he can succeed in the NFL without the power source from which Davone Bess called upon: dreadlocks. Sure, the stats might say that Davone Bess’ dreadlock-less 2012 season was better than his 2011 outing, but those who lived through those years know that the mojo was gone.

Isaiah Ford currently does not have dreads. While this could be an issue given the number’s history with the team, we’ll have to see how it plays out.

It’s hard not to sit here and reminisce about Bess’ glory days, as the wide receiver fought his way to -2 yards per catch on each play in extraordinary fashion.

1) Raekwon McMillan, No. 52  

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After Tom Brady, QBs will forever pick No. 12. After Michael Jordan and LeBron James, basketball players will always gravitate towards No. 23. Eventually, wide receivers will don No. 13 and try to emulate the one-handed catches of Odell Beckham.

Now, linebackers who grew up watching players like Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis terrorize offenses are entering the league, associating No. 52 with excellence over the middle.

Even if Raekwon McMillan didn’t pick No. 52 because of Ray Lewis, nobody will complain about seeing No. 52 roaming the middle of a defense. Not only did Lewis define greatness in the NFL at McMillan’s position, but also first gained recognition playing in South Florida. Lewis starred at the University of Miami, also wearing No. 52 in college.

I’m sure this will be a controversial pick for some due to Ray Lewis’ checkered past. While one should not diminish the involvement he had in such a serious case, this isn’t about the comparison of Ray Lewis to Raekwon McMillan. It’s a statement about the presence of a linebacker wearing 52 – a number that has become synonymous with stout play and transcendence in the middle of a defense.


  • Drew a blank on 53? You must be too young to remember, but the No Name Defense was also know as the 53 defense, the 53 being worn by Bob Matheson. DT should wear numbers in the 70s, with 50s reserved for LB.


    • Man, that was a long, long time ago my friend! I still remember those days too! Bob Greise was a rookie the year I stated to follow the team when I was 8 &1/2 years old! And been faithful ever since. Not back for a guy from Calif. & not from Florida, to follow the team so long! Old Bob Matheson was a great player too! I almost forgot about the old 53 Defense!! Bill A. sure knew what he was doing as are DC in those days!!! Thanks You for waking up an old memory!!! John


  • OMG, the 53 Defense~ I can remember hot sweaty day games at the Orange bowl and watching good ole 53 spear into the opponent….when NFL football was a bit bloody and the Orange Bowl crowd was extra rowdy, couldn’t help notice the pot smell wafting thru the stands…lol… Back in the day award.


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