Olivier Vernon trying to prove he can play every down

When the Dolphins took Dion Jordan with the third overall pick in the draft, everyone looked to him as the player who would line up opposite Cameron Wake and help maximize the pass rush on defense this season.

Jordan may wind up filling that role, although he’ll have some catching up to do once he gets off the non-football injury list. Until he does, Olivier Vernon is playing with the first team at defensive end and the 2012 third-round pick isn’t planning on giving up the job without a struggle.

“Last year was that learning year. I had to soak everything in and play my role,” Vernon said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “This year I’m just trying to get a feel for everything that will be thrown at me. I’m trying to be an every down type of player. I’m trying to prove something out here.”

Vernon’s role last season was almost totally that of a situational pass rusher. He had 3.5 sacks in 445 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, a number that shows some promise as a complement for Wake if he succeeds in proving that he can play the run as well. Should the Dolphins get that to go with Jordan, their pass rush would take a big step forward from last season.

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