Moving along to some of the role players on the defensive line, it's time to take a look at rookie DE Olivier Vernon. Some are very high on him, but many have their doubts because of his lack of production.
Vernon started catching notoriety as a sophomore when he produced six sacks for the Hurricanes. Going into 2011, he was one of the many Hurricanes caught in the Nevin Shapiro scandal and was suspended for the first six games of the season. Over the final six games, Vernon was only able to total 1.5 sacks. Because of the drop in numbers, many were surprised to see him declare for the NFL Draft in the first place.
While his production is underwhelming, Vernon does show a good mixture of strength, athleticism, and quickness off the snap. For now, he will probably play a limited role on third downs for the Dolphins as he works on his pass rushing techniques to add to his quick burst.
Floor: His floor could be very limited depending on how much production Miami gets out of other players generating a pass rush. If players such as Jamaal Westerman or Jared Odrick show enough ability rushing the passed in a 4-man front, the Dolphins may not turn to Vernon as often. Still, he will get his share of snaps and should see some production. Floor: 10 tackles, 1 sack, 0 FF.
Ceiling: Because there is so much uncertainty as far as the opposite DE to Wake, Vernon could also have a larger role than expected. While many think of him as an edge rusher that can see most of his time on the line on passing downs, Vernon does play the run well. If Vernon surprises in training camp and/or other DEs struggle, there is a chance Vernon could eventually find himself playing more snaps and may be a starter at some point in 2012. Ceiling: 30 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF.