Don Shula's draft luck did an about-face starting in 1976. Productive players such as Larry Gordon, Kim Bokamper and Duriel Harris were taken that year. Two key components of the Killer 'B' defense joined the team in 1977 when A.J. Duhe (1) and Bob Baumhower (2) were selected. Duhe was one of the most decorated Dolphins rookies ever, winning several Rookie of the Year awards.
Shula unearthed some gems in '78, especially in Round 6 when Doug Betters, Miami's second all-time leading sacker, was selected. Bruce Hardy, who was a solid tight end for 12 seasons, was added in the ninth round. The hits kept coming in '79 when Jon Giesler (1), Tony Nathan (3) and Glenn Blackwood (8) were snapped up on draft day.
In 1980 Shula turned to Bear Bryant's Alabama program for two stars. Cornerback Don McNeal was Miami's first-round pick, and future Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson was added in Round 2. Stephenson today is regarded by some as the greatest center ever.
Miami's most interesting pick in the years 1976-80 might have been quarterback Bill Kenney. A 12th-round selection from Northern Colorado in 1978, Kenney impressed no one and failed to make the team. He later would develop into a star with the Chiefs, throwing for 4,348 yards in 1983. If Kenney had blossomed earlier while still a Dolphin, would Miami ever have selected Dan Marino in '83?Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times