04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Dolphins' picks: Round 3/72 - Olivier Vernon, DE, 6-2, 261, Miami...This well-built, quick twitch edge pass rusher reminded the scouts a lot of Cameron Wake, whom the Dolphins discovered in the CFL. He had an average career from a production standout, but the film showed he's a solid player. Ireland specifically liked the way he set the edge on running plays. COULD SURPRISE: Defensive end Olivier Vernon: His production at Miami is underwhelming considering he only contributed 82 career tackles and nine sacks before declaring for the draft after his suspension-shortened junior season. But his athleticism, strength and speed measurables were off the charts, and won Ireland and his scouts over during a workout. The Dolphins envision Vernon immediately filling Jason Taylor's old role as a situational pass rusher in the nickel package. - The Sports Xchange
A highly regarded prep prospect, Vernon signed with Miami and immediately saw playing time earning action in 11 games and starting two contests as a true freshman. Vernon registered 25 tackles on the season and demonstrated big play potential early on, making five stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Vernon enjoyed his best collegiate season as a sophomore, starting 11 of 13 games and posting career highs in tackles (39), tackles for loss (10.5) and sacks (six). Having demonstrated a quick burst off the snap and a frame to intrigue scouts working for 3-4 and 4-3 teams, alike, Vernon appeared poised to enter his junior season as one of blossoming pass rushers in the entire country.
Instead, Vernon was caught up in the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal and was suspended for the first six games of the 2011 season. He flashed the talents that had been percolating a year earlier, registering 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks over the final six games of the year but stunned scouts when he decided to leave Miami with a full season of eligibility remaining.
Vernon has an NFL-caliber combination of size and athleticism. He is far from a finished product, however, and NFL teams will have to ask themselves what type of dedication to a team he'll have considering the fact that he left Miami so abruptly.
Positives: Looks the part. Possesses a long, athletic build with room for additional muscle mass. Flashes a burst off the snap, which is good enough to cross the face of collegiate tackles and put him in position to make big plays behind the line of scrimmage. Good lateral agility to elude. Plays on the balls of his feet and shows enough balance and flexibility to quickly turn and pursue laterally and downfield. Plenty of athletic talent worthy of developing...
Negatives: Raw. Relies on his burst and size as a pass rusher and shows little in terms of pass rush technique. Flashes some explosiveness as a hitter but has just one forced fumble (2011) for his career. Only average strength at the point of attack, at this time. Loses track of the football and really could have used more seasoning before making the jump to the NFL. His "breakout" sophomore season of six sacks looks less impressive when one realizes that he recorded 3.5 of his sacks on the season against Florida A&M. Concerns about his maturity and work ethic.