Photo credit: Mackenzie Miles/Georgia athletics
The Miami Dolphins had to wait until well into the third round to make their first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. The consensus, however, is that they made the most of it.
With the 102nd overall pick, Miami took Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall. A national champion and member of the one of the better defenses in recent college football history, Tindall recorded 67 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble last season.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, scouts have raved about Tindall’s speed. Many experts and analysts believe he will make a good fit in Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer’s system.
Over the years, many players from Georgia have played their professional football in South Florida. Tight end Randy McMichael spent five seasons and averaged more than 600 yards receiving per season. The verdict is still out on guard Solomon Kindley. Running backs Robert Edwards and Knowshon Moreno had their Miami careers derailed by injuries before they virtually even started.
Defensively however, the Dolphins have a rich tradition with former Bulldogs. That’s a trend they hope continue with Tindall.
Two Big Names on the No-Name Defense
Two of the biggest names for the Dolphins’ vaunted “No-Name Defense” of the 1970s played their college football in Athens. Before legendary quarterback Dan Marino donned the No. 13, safety Jake Scott wore it quite well.
Scott spent six seasons with the Dolphins and made the Pro Bowl in each of his last five. He still holds the franchise record with 35 career interceptions.
Scott recorded two picks in Super Bowl VII as the Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins to complete the NFL’s first and only perfect season. He was named the game’s MVP and became the first defensive back in Super Bowl history to earn that honor.
Up front, defensive end Bill Stanfill was one of the premier pass rushers of his era. A mammoth of a man at 6-5 and 250 pounds, Stanfill played all eight seasons of his NFL career in Miami.
Stanfill was a 5-time Pro Bowl selection, including as a rookie in 1969 — a year where he returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Stanfill made four straight Pro Bowls from 1971 to 1974.
Although sacks were an unofficial statistic at the time, Stanfill led the NFL with 18 in 1973. That’s the last season in which the Dolphins won the Super Bowl. They defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII to become the first repeat champions from the AFC.
A Leader and a Star
The last two decades or so haven’t been overly kind to the Dolphins as a franchise, but one of the shining stars in the secondary over that period was another Georgia alum — safety Reshad Jones.
Jones spent a decade with the Dolphins from 2010 to 2019. He made two Pro Bowls during that era and probably deserved to make more.
Jones recorded at least 100 tackles three times during his 10 years in Miami while racking up 21 interceptions, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. He also scored six defensive touchdowns during his time with the Dolphins.
In team history, only Jason Taylor has more. Jones’ four interception returns for touchdowns is tied with Zach Thomas for the team record.
When it comes to Georgia alumni playing defense for the Dolphins, another notable is defensive tackle Jason Ferguson. He played in all 16 games and started 13 for the Dolphins in 2008 — the last time they won the AFC East. He ranked fifth on the team that season with five tackles for loss.
Tindall will be joining a Miami defense that was one of the NFL’s best over the final half of 2021. How Tindall pans out remains to be seen, but as far as history goes with Georgia players in Miami, he has large shoes to fill.