3 Dolphins One-Hit Wonders We Wish Hadn't Disappeared
By Scott Rogust
The Miami Dolphins have been basement occupants in the AFC East, thanks to the dynasty created by the rival New England Patriots. The Dolphins haven't been a consistent, winning football team since Dan Marino's retirement. At times, it appeared that the Dolphins had finally found pieces to bring them back to glory, but they often never panned out or fulfilled their ultimate promise.
Here are three one-hit wonders on the Dolphins we wish never would have disappeared.
3. RB Jay Ajayi
This take is going to be controversial for some, but hear us out. Jay Ajayi was an explosive running back out of Boise State, leading to the Dolphins selecting him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Ajayi lit up the stat sheet during his sophomore season in 2016, where he posted 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 260 carries. The following season, Ajayi's relationship with then-head coach Adam Gase was beyond repair, and he was dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles at the trade deadline. Ajayi did get the last laugh in the form of a Lombardi Trophy a couple of months later. The rusher flamed out of the league two years after that career highlight due to a knee injury. Ajayi is a true case of "what could've been" had he stayed healthy.
2. OT Ja'Wuan James
The Dolphins needed a quality starting offensive tackle entering the 2014 season. Miami missed out on the likes of Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews in the first round, so they settled on Ja'Wuan James with the 18th overall pick. James was average in his first two seasons down in South Beach, but he truly shined in 2016. The former Tennessee Volunteer thrived in run blocking situations, which greatly benefitted Jay Ajayi. After that strong campaign, James was limited to eight games the following season due to a hamstring injury. In 2019, James signed with the Denver Broncos, and proved to be a gigantic waste of money for John Elway and Co. In hindsight, the Dolphins should've moved up to select Lewan. Just saying.
1. RB Lamar Smith
Prior to joining the Miami Dolphins, Lamar Smith was a backup with the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints during his first five seasons in the league. Once he headed down to Miami in 2000, there was magic on the gridiron for both Smith and the Dolphins. In 15 regular season games, Smith tallied 1,340 yards from scrimmage and 16 total touchdowns, helping Miami reach the playoffs. When facing the Indianapolis Colts, Smith rushed for 209 yards on 40 carries for the 23-17 win. In fact, that was the Dolphins' most recent playoff win! Smith never replicated that spectacular campaign, and finished off his career with the Saints...as a bench option.