Derrick Rodgers, Miami Dolphins
A consensus All-American and member of the Dolphins for six winning seasons, Derrick Rodgers helped Miami's defense remain one of the best in the NFL.
Derrick Rodgers was a consensus All-American linebacker in 1996 for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Miami selected him in the third round of the 1997 NFL Entry Draft with the 92nd overall pick.
As a 26-year old rookie, Rodgers started 14 of 15 games at right linebacker for Miami, finishing fourth on the team with 80 tackles. He also forced three fumbles, recovered a fourth, and recorded a career high five sacks. Miami finished 9-7 as the defense allowed an NFL fourth fewest nine rushing touchdowns. They would lose in the wild card round to the New England Patriots, 17-10.
The Dolphins moved Rodgers to the left linebacker position prior to the 1998 season, where he started all 16 games. He collected 2.5 sacks and 47 tackles as the Dolphins finished 10-6. They beat the Buffalo Bills 24-17 in the wildcard round before losing to the Denver Broncos, 38-3. Miami's defense ranked first in the NFL with 29 interceptions, 265 points allowed, and only six rushing touchdowns allowed.
Rodgers collected his first career interception in a week six 16-13 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. He started 15 of 16 games, making 36 tackles and recovering two fumbles as the team again made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, beating the Seattle Seahawks 20-17 before losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars 62-7. The run defense was again amongst the NFL's best, allowing an NFL second fewest six touchdowns on the ground.
In 2000, Rodgers started 14 of 16 games at the left side. He finished fourth on the Dolphins with 75 tackles and collected half of a sack. Miami won the AFC East with an 11-5 record, beating the Indianapolis Colts 23-17 in the wildcard round before getting shut out the following week by the Oakland Raiders, 27-0. The defense allowed an NFL third lowest 226 points and intercepted an NFL best 28 passes.
In 14 starts in 2001, Rodgers made 66 tackles and one sack, also knocking down seven passes. Miami went 11-5, losing the wildcard game to the Baltimore Ravens, 20-3. The Dolphins allowed a total of 2,829 yards in the air, the lowest passing yardage against in the NFL.
2002 would see Rodgers make 74 tackles and pick off two passes in starting 15 of 16 games for Miami. The team finished 9-7, tying for first in the AFC East but missing out of the playoffs due to a tiebreaker. The defense allowed an NFL fourth fewest nine touchdowns.
Rodgers would join the New Orleans Saints for two seasons beginning in 2003, starting 23 games before being released at the age of 34.
Rodgers accrued a total of 378 tackles and nine sacks for Miami over his six seasons. The Dolphins never finished with a losing record as long as he was a part of the organization.
Miami has a long history of game changing linebackers. Who was the most dominant linebacker in Dolphins history?
Nick Buoniconti (661 votes)
Larry Gordon (14 votes)
AJ Duhe (269 votes)
Zach Thomas (2855 votes)
Mike Kolen (11 votes)
John Offerdahl (403 votes)
Doug Swift (22 votes)
Brian Cox (158 votes)
Bob Brudzinski (23 votes)
4416 total votes