MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After selecting defensive end Dion Jordan with the number three overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, most assumed that Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon was headed for the bench.
Perhaps the only person who didn’t believe that was Vernon, who has put together a solid year as the Fins’ primary quarterback sack machine. Vernon, through 12 games, has 10 sacks in 2013. Last year, he managed just 3.5 sacks in 16 games.
For comparison, in Vernon’s best season at the University of Miami; he had a total of six sacks in 13 games.
Vernon continued his torrid pace on Sunday by grabbing 2.5 sacks against the New York Jets to go along with his 10 total tackles and three quarterback hits. The former Canes defensive end has grabbed all but one-and-a-half of his sacks since the calendar turned to October.
Vernon’s 10 sacks lead the Dolphins, but the entire defensive line has been contributing to the sack totals. Jordan has contributed two sacks; Jared Odrick has four-and-a-half sacks, Cameron Wake has pulled down 6.5, Randy Starks has three, and even Paul Soliai has one.
Just for a little perspective, Vernon now has more sacks than Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware, Kansas City’s Tamba Hali, and the San Francisco 49ers’ Aldon Smith. He’s still 5.5 sacks behind the league leader, Robert Mathis of the Colts.
Still, for a player many fans had already sent to the bench at the start of the season; Vernon is now one of the Dolphins’ defensive stars this season.