Dolphins Pick DE Vernon And TE Egnew In Third Round

Posted Apr 27, 2012

Now there’s a hometown angle to this year’s NFL Draft as the Dolphins stayed in their own backyard and selected University of Miami defensive end Olivier Vernon with their first of two third-round picks.

Missouri tight end Michael Egnew was Miami’s next selection with the 78th overall pick as they traded down six spots with the San Diego Chargers. San Diego gave the Dolphins the 183rd overall pick in tomorrow’s sixth round in return so they could move up and take LSU safety Brandon Taylor at No. 73.

Vernon was the first Hurricane taken in the draft and the first chosen by the Dolphins since 2004 when they drafted offensive tackle Vernon Carey in the first round. He will also get to play in the same stadium, Sun Life Stadium, where he played his college football as the 72nd overall pick.

“I can’t really explain it right now but I’m excited to be a Dolphin,” said Vernon, who missed the first six games of the 2011 season while serving a suspension. “I worked out for the Dolphins during Miami Day and at our Pro Day and I feel like I can bring another winning mindset to the team.”

During his career at Miami, the 6-foot-2, 251-pound Vernon recorded 81 tackles (51 solo), nine sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. He also forced one fumble and recovered one fumble.

Vernon’s best season came as a sophomore in 2010 when he notched 39 tackles (25 solo) and a career-high six sacks while starting 11 of 13 games at right defensive end. He added 10.5 tackles for loss but he feels like he left something to be desired at UM.

“I would characterize my career as not fulfilled because I didn’t get to fulfill everything I wanted at UM,” Vernon said. “But everything happens for a reason and now it’s my time to start a new chapter in my life. I had some minor setbacks with the suspension but I feel like I have to move past that and start a new chapter with the Dolphins.”

Egnew brings more size to the tight end position at 6-5 and 251 pounds and in 2010 he caught 90 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns while playing with quarterback Blaine Gabbert. This past season he embraced a more expanded role as a blocker and enjoyed it.

As far as how he sees himself in the NFL, Egnew believes he’ll fit right in as a pass-catching tight end capable of producing down the field. That position has trended differently in recent years with more players performing like wide receivers.

“I’d be a fool if I didn’t say I resembled Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski a little bit,” Egnew said. “I’m just going to go in and learn everything that I can and develop all of my skills that I already have. I’ll conform to be whatever type of tight end that I need to be in order to help the team win.”

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