With a few notable exceptions, the years 1986-90 were dark ones for Don Shula and the Dolphins when it came to the draft. The team made several poor trades and unwise high-round picks that conspired to keep Miami from climbing out of its late '80s malaise.
But first, the shrewd selections, starting with John Offerdahl. A linebacker from Western Michigan, Offerdahl was mostly a mystery to Miami fans when he joined the team, but he soon emerged as the team's defensive leader and a five-time Pro Bowl selection. Jeff Cross was a ninth-round pick in '88 who would finish his Dolphins career with 59.5 sacks, while kicker Pete Stoyanovich (8, '89) is Miami's No. 2 all-time scorer.
But the mistakes are what define this era in Dolphins draft history. Foremost are three consecutive first-round busts: John Bosa ('87), Eric Kumerow ('88) and Sammie Smith ('89). Miami also overpaid for overrated linebacker Hugh Green, sending first- and second-round picks to Tampa Bay in '86. The second-round selection had been acquired from Minnesota in another unwise deal when the Dolphins sent Anthony Carter to the Vikings. In Miami's defense, the team already was blessed with excellent receivers in Mark Clayton and Mark Duper.
This five-year period did end on a high note when Shula chose offensive line stars Richmond Webb and Keith Sims with his first two picks in 1990.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun