Miami Dolphins

Can the Dolphins expect to draft an impact player in the early 20s? Eh, maybe, history says

Vernon Carey (No. 72) was a dependable piece of the Dolphins’ offensive line for years.
Vernon Carey (No. 72) was a dependable piece of the Dolphins’ offensive line for years. Miami Herald Staff

The Dolphins have been making draft picks for more than five decades now.

They've picked first (twice).

They've had the first round's last pick (also twice).

But, assuming they don't trade up or back, the Dolphins will do something they've never done before on April 27:

Pick 22nd overall.

Still, they've had first-round selections in that general vicinity plenty of times, and the results, as expected, have been mixed.

Here's a look at every time the Dolphins have picked between 19th and 25th in their 51-year history:

Tackle Ja'Wuan James, 2014, pick No. 19: James has started all 39 games in which he's appeared as a pro, but needs to play better after a rough first year under Adam Gase. The Dolphins must decide soon whether to pick up James' fifth-year option.

Cornerback Vontae Davis, 2009, pick No. 25: Davis struggled with maturity during his three years with Tony Sparano, then didn't make it through camp with Joe Philbin, who traded Davis to Indianapolis. The change helped. Davis blossomed into a two-time Pro Bowler with the Colts.

Tackle Vernon Carey, 2004, pick No. 19: Solid, but not spectacular. That's the best way to describe Carey's career in Miami, spent mostly at right tackle. He started 107 games in eight seasons with Miami.

The Dolphins have a ton of needs, but here's who Adam Beasley thinks the team might pick in this year's draft.

Defensive tackle Daryl Gardener, 1996, pick No. 20: Jimmy Johnson used his first Dolphins draft pick on "a project," as Sports Illustrated put it at the time. Gardener went on to play six season for the Dolphins, but never had more than five sacks in a season.

Tackle Billy Milner, 1995, pick No. 25: Put simply, this was a catastrophe. Milner was so bad, the Dolphins were done with him after four games of his second year. Milner was out of the league shortly thereafter.

Defensive tackle Tim Bowens, 1994, pick No. 20: A home run. Bowens is one of the 50 greatest players in franchise history, starting 155 games in 11 seasons, including 92 straight from 1994-99. Bowens won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year award in '94.

Wide receiver O.J. McDuffie, 1993, pick No. 25: McDuffie led the NFL in catches in 1998, catching 90. That was also a single-season franchise record that stood until Jarvis Landry broke it in 2015. McDuffie spent his entire eighth-year career with Miami and was also on the all-time team.

Wide receiver Randal Hill, 1991, pick No. 23: One game. That's all Don Shula gave Hill, who held out of his rookie training camp, before trading him in disgust to the Cardinals. The ex-Miami Hurricane later returned to the Dolphins for two seasons, but caught just 33 passes in aqua and orange.

Guard Roy Foster, 1982: pick No. 24: How's this for a charmed career? Foster is the only offensive lineman to block for Joe Montana, Steve Young and Dan Marino. Foster played his first nine years with the Dolphins, reaching the Super Bowl twice.

Cornerback Don McNeal, 1980: pick No. 21: It's unfair, but McNeal's 10-year career will be forever be remembered for his missed tackle on John Riggins' 43-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl 17. McNeal started 48 games and intercepted 18 passes as a pro.

Tackle Jon Giesler, 1979, pick No. 24: Time has not been kind to some of the picks for the 50th anniversary team. Including Brent Grimes, who played just three years for the Dolphins, but excluding Giesler, who protected Dan Marino's blind side for Marino’s best seasons, is near the top of the list.

Linebacker/defensive end Kim Bokamper, 1976, pick No. 19: Long before he was a broadcaster or selling chicken wings, Bokamper was a charter member of the Killer B's defense. He reached one Pro Bowl (1979) in his nine-year career.

Tackle Darryl Carlton, 1975, pick No. 23: Another bust. Carlton got into trouble with drugs during his short NFL career. He was out of a Dolphins uniform after two years and out of the NFL after five. A sad footnote: Carlton died of prostate cancer in 1994.

Defensive tackle Mike Kadish, 1972, pick No. 25: Kadish has a Super Bowl ring from the perfect season, but never played a down for the Dolphins. After one year on Miami's practice squad, Kadish was traded to Buffalo for guard Irv Goode.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

The Dolphins have a ton of needs, but here's who Adam Beasley thinks the team might pick in this year's draft.