Olivier Vernon is another dynamic athlete from the Miami Hurricanes program, but he has faced his fair share of controversy.
Vernon was suspended for six games last year and received the harshest punishment of any Cane who accepted improper benefits from infamous booster Nevin Shapiro.
Due to his abbreviated season, the 6'2", 260-pound defensive end finished with just 18 tackles and 1.5 sacks, compared to 39 tackles and six sacks in 2010.
The lineman surprised a lot of people when he declared for the draft, despite coming off a lackluster season and having a year of eligibility left. His involvement in the Shapiro scandal inevitably caused character concerns in the pre-draft process.
The pass-rusher's talent is undeniable. The foundation is there, but he needs to improve his skill set on the field, and become more mature off the field.
Vernon has an explosive burst off the snap but still needs a lot of technical work to earn consistent playing time at the pro level. He is viewed as a prospect potentially capable of making the switch to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme, which does help his cause.
Todd McShay of ESPN hinted at some concerns over Vernon's dealings with Shapiro, but recognized the DE's exceptional talent.
If he is focused and doing the right things and working at it and 100 percent dedicated to football, he’s well built, solid, strong, shows some quickness off the line, and I think he has a chance to make an impact as a pass rusher at the next level.
Vernon is also powerful enough to play against the run, which will help him develop into an every-down player. His ESPN draft profile referred to his run-stopping skills as an "area of strength" and gave him solid marks in the category.
His ability to come off the edge or line up in a 4-point stance gives him the ability to be effective in multiple packages.
The Dolphins pick up a versatile defensive playmaker in Olivier Vernon, who won't have to move far to start his NFL career. Likely a rotational player in his rookie season.
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