Dec 1, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) is sacked by Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon (50) during the first quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Primer: Defensive Line

Is there a better unit on the entire Miami Dolphins Team?

The answer is no, this is the strength of the Miami Dolphins, as not only are they good, they are deep as well. This will be the unit that acts as a catalyst for the entire Defense.

The Defensive Line boasts 2 Pro Bowlers in Randy Starks and Cameron Wake, and 2 other starters in Jared Odrick and Olivier Vernon that are on the brink of reaching that level.

The Dolphins also posses 2 extremely talented reserves, good enough to be starters, in Free Agent acquisition Earl Mitchell and last year’s first round pick Dion Jordan. Needless to say, this unit is pretty stacked.

A 4 man front as fearsome as any in the league, they figure to put quite a bit of heat on opposing Quarterbacks. All blessed with the versatility to play in 3 or 4 man fronts, Kevin Coyle should look to utilize more hybrid fronts this season than in years past.

At Defensive End, the Dolphins primary 4 man rotation of Wake, Vernon, Jordan, and Derrick Shelby; compliment each other about as good as anyone could have planned.

Wake and Vernon form the best set of Book Ends in the entire league, while top back up Dion Jordan provides the versatility to line up anywhere in the front seven, although his contributions won’t come until October due to his suspension for PEDs.

Shelby is a fundamentalist who plays with leverage and a high motor, facing very little threat or competition for his roster spot and team role from rookie 7th round pick Terence Fede.

With Randy Starks and Jared Odrick serving as the starters at Defensive Tackle, the Miami Dolphins have 2 guys that are 3 down players. Playing with high motors and violent hands, these 2 men are just as good at stopping the run as they are rushing the passer.

With Wake and budding superstar Vernon commanding so much attention from opposing Offenses, look for Starks and Odrick to haunt the dreams of opposing Guards on the schedule that draw the task of blocking these gentlemen one on one.

Replacing former Pro Bowl Nose Tackle Paul Soliai is former Texan Earl Mitchell. While manning the Nose Tackle position for Houston, Mitchell was miscast in that role but made it work because he’s the quintessential football player.

Blessed with amazing mobility for a 300 pounder, Mitchell figures to fit in a 4 man front much better. With Mitchell’s incredible pursuit to the football and penetration skills, he will compliment Starks and Odrick, missing no beats within one of the league’s better 3 men interior rotations.

Rounding out the D-Line are roster holdovers Isaako Aaitui, A.J. Francis and undrafted free agents Anthony Johnson, Garrison Smith, and Kamal Johnson. With those 5 names fighting for what’s likely to be 1 active roster spot and the rest, if lucky, catching on with the practice squad or another team in all.

Benefiting the Dolphins, this will be the unit to carry their defense and quite frankly, maybe even the whole team. There is definitely more than enough talent present on the roster for the Dolphins to field one of the most dominant defensive lines in the league. FINS UP!

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Tags: Cameron Wake Miami Dolphins Olivier Vernon Randy Starks

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