When Miami traded out of the number 12 spot with San Diego most fans liked the move. When Jared Odrick’s name was called and not Jerry Hughes many fans let out a gasp of air and wondered why the Trifecta would draft a defensive end in what most felt was Miami’s strongest position on the field. Miami went into the draft with glaring needs at NT, OLB and FS. Defensive end was nowhere to be found on that list. There have been rumors that Dan Williams would have been the pick at 28 if he was there, but Arizona took care of that two picks ahead of Miami.
It wasn’t long after Miami drafted Odrick they announced Randy Starks would be moving inside to be the starting nose tackle. This leaves the RDE spot as a competition between Merling and Odrick for the starting position, but no matter who wins Nolan will rotate players in and out and we should see fresh legs in the game at any given time.
The Miami brain trust fell in love with Odrick at the 2010 Senior Bowl. Even though Odrick played for the North team which wasn’t coached by the Dolphins coaching staff they saw a lot of him and were able to spend time with him. Odrick is a beast at 6’5”, 304 pounds. He has long arms and still has room to grow into that frame. He has a workman like attitude and a non-stop motor. He was also a team captain at Penn State. Here is a quote that Odrick gave to CBSsports.com that should get fans pumped. “I want to get after the quarterback every play that it’s a pass. Sacks don’t come every play … so it makes you hungry to go get that one. Defending the run, that’s just being a man. That’s just hunkering down and getting dirty.” That sounds like a Bill Parcells type of guy if there ever was one.
In 2009 Odrick earned first team All-American status. He lead the Nittany Lions to the 9th ranked overall defense and was the 5th ranked defense against the run in 2009. So while Odrick wants to get after the quarterback, he definitely has no problem with being a man and getting down and dirty. Odrick was a three year starter for Penn State and totaled 104 tackles with 25.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks. His numbers compare favorable against the other top defensive tackles taken in the first round, with the exception of Ndamukong Suh, whose stats were head and shoulders above any other defensive tackle in the draft.
Odrick will need to work on his technique because he can sometimes get too high and lose the leverage battle and not square his shoulders at the point of attack. However, he is physically gifted as an athlete that has a rare combination of size, speed and strength. He is extremely quick inside of a box and can cover a lot of ground with his burst. Odrick’s motor is always running and plays through the whistle. Going back and watching film on him I very rarely saw him give up on a play no matter where he was on the field. He will continue to pursue the play from any spot on the field. He also has strong hands and is a good hand fighter with a hard punch. He will have to learn to fight out of double teams, which was probably the area he struggled with the most at Penn State. The good thing for Odrick is he will be battling Jake Long in practice daily. If he can learn to hold his own against Long, he can play against anyone in the league.
This writer’s prediction is Odrick will be one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the league. I also see him as a defensive team captain at some point. Phin Fans will grow to like the Odrick pick more and more as they watch him play. His workman like attitude will be will be loved by the fans and respected around the league. While Jared Odrick may have not been a need for Miami, he will definitely fit into the new defensive scheme that Dan Nolan brings. Odrick likes to attack, and if nothing else Nolan’s defenses attack the offensive side of the ball. Odrick and Nolan seem to be a match made in football heaven, so here’s to hoping Odrick helps turn the defense that failed more time than not last year to a defense that dominates in 2010 and beyond.