During April’s 2013 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins sent one of their second round selections and the number twelve overall selection to the Oakland Raiders for the third overall selection. Many were assuming Miami was moving up to select Oklahoma Tackle, Lane Johnson, as the other two tackles worthy of a top ten pick were off the board – Eric Fisher to Kansas City and Luke Joeckel to Jacksonville.
Once the pick was in, many were shocked by the name NFL GM Roger Goodell belted out…. “With the third overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select, Dion Jordan, defensive end, Oregon..”
Boom, the football world was shocked. Miami brought the 6’6” 247lbs. pass rusher to Davie, Florida.
Bringing Jordan to town opens up many possibilities on defense. Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle can use Jordan as a 4-3 or 3-4 edge rusher. Coyle can also utilize Jordan’s unique athletic skill set and allow him to cover tight ends and running backs in space at the linebacker position – similar to his role at the University of Oregon.
Many wonder how the team will utilize Jordan’s abilities this season, but I wonder how the team will use a different pass rusher who showed immense potential last season in a limited role along the defensive line.
Olivier Vernon, a 6’2” 261 lbs. pass rusher, produced a fine rookie season for the ‘Phins. Vernon collected 32 total tackles (25 solo) while playing in 16 games. The former Miami Hurricane collected 3.5 sacks which tied with OLB Koa Misi for fourth on the team. Vernon also forced two fumbles which tied for second on the team with Reshad Jones, Jimmy Wilson, and John Denney.
While Vernon made his presence felt when given the opportunity, he surely made a name for himself via special teams.
Vernon was active in kick and punt coverage, while also racking up two blocked field goals and recovered a Jimmy Wilson blocked punt in the end-zone for a touchdown.
Clearly, Vernon’s biggest attribute is his athletic ability. A defensive end covering punts and kicks? Are you kidding me?
But Coyle did not just line Vernon up strictly as a defensive end. Vernon also saw time as a linebacker.
While Vernon is certainly better suited as a defensive end rather than as a linebacker, this opens up a whole new realm of opportunities for DC Kevin Coyle.
Coyle now has an insanely athletic defensive end trio similar to that of the Cincinnati Bengals, just better. We all know how incredibly athletic Cameron Wake is, but add in Jordan and Vernon’s athletic abilities, man..
This front seven can be quite ferocious if you ask me. A linebacker unit consisting of Misi, Phillip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe, Austin Spitler, Jelani Jenkins, Josh Kaddu and Jonathan Freeny. Throw that together with a defensive line consisting of Wake, Jordan, Vernon, Derrick Shelby, Vaughn Martin, Jared Odrick, Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, and Kheeston Randall (I’m not saying all of these guys will make the 53 man roster, just saying that they’re currently on the squad..)? Coyle has a plethora of weapons to utilize.
I am quite intrigued by the idea of throwing together a 3-4 hybrid defense using Odrick, Soliai and Starks as the starting defensive line, while using Wake, Vernon, Ellerbe/Wheeler/Misi, Jordan as the starting linebackers in the 3-4 package.
I also like the idea of Miami’s base 4-3 defense( DL: Wake, Starks, Soliai, Odrick/Vernon/Jordan, LB: Misi, Ellerbe, Wheeler) and sub package (Basically looks like the 3-4 defense while subtracting a linebacker – DL: Wake, Starks, Odrick, LB/DE: Vernon/Jordan, LB: Ellerbe, Wheeler/Misi). My head is spinning from all of these possibilities.
I for one, am certainly looking forward to seeing how exactly Coyle utilizes his front seven’s unique athleticism this season.
Statistics taken from ESPN.com.