Late Thursday night, the Dolphins were finally on the clock after trading down from pick 12 to pick 28. Among those still available were Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes, two athletic outside linebackers who would fill a huge need on their roster.
Then the pick was announced...Jared Odrick, defensive tackle, Penn State.
Surprise and disappointment seemed to be the consensus feelings amongst Dolphin fans. But when you put aside the idea of drafting for need, it isn't hard to understand why this front office selected this versatile defensive lineman from Penn State.
It's clear after hearing GM Jeff Ireland speak tonight that the Dolphins had Odrick at the top of their draft board when they got put on the clock at number 28. And if that's how they honestly felt, that Odrick was the best player available at the time, then you have to give them credit for sticking to their board.
Upon being drafted by Miami, Odrick said all the right things. He spoke about how he's willing to play anywhere on the defensive line and how he's just looking forward to finding a place to live and getting to work.
So where will he play? That seems to be the question everybody is wondering about. At his press conference on Thursday night, Ireland said that Odrick can play inside and outside along the line. That kind of versatility will make Odrick a three down player - not a situational player. Most likely, though, I expect the 6'5, 304 pound Odrick to play defensive end in Miami's 3-4 on early downs and then kick inside on third downs or when Mike Nolan decides to mix it up and run a hybrid defense.
But Ireland did confirm that they won't make any definitive decision on where Jared will play until they get him out on the field.
It's clear, though, that it's Odrick's flexibility and willingness to play anywhere that probably really enticed this regime. In his own words, Odrick told the media on Thursday night that his versatility is indeed "one of the reason the Dolphins took me. I can and will play any position on the defensive line. It doesn’t matter."
On ESPN, Jon Gruden said that he is a big fan of Odrick's:
"When he comes off the ball he’s a bull rushing. He’s a problem inside. He sheds guards and makes a lot of tackles. Relentless. Plays on an every down basis and never gets tired."
With that said, the one position I don't see him playing is nose tackle. From all the reports I've read on him - like this one from Scott Wright of Draft Countdown - Odrick's one big flaw is that he isn't "overly stout" at the point of attack. That's why I doubt he sees much work at the nose. Instead I see him being used like Randy Starks has been used, kicking inside on passing downs but staying at end when Miami 's in their true 3-4 defense.
Of course, I'm not going to completely write off the possibility that Odrick becomes a nose tackle. He did say tonight that he can gain or lose weight very easily and that he's "all for it" if they ask him to play the nose.
Here's the only thing I know for sure: the Dolphins better have gotten this one right. If they turn out to be wrong about Odrick, there are going to be many disappointed and/or angry fans with their pitchforks at the front door of the team's facility in Davie. And not even a 6'5, 300+ pound defensive lineman would be able to protect them.