Odrick Is Back In Familiar Territory

Posted Jun 7, 2013

Dolphins' fourth-year defensive lineman has been working at his old college position during offseason drills.

Whether it’s permanent is still to be determined, but Jared Odrick is back in familiar territory this spring.

Since joining the Dolphins as a first-round pick in 2010, Odrick has lined up almost exclusively at defensive end, first in the team’s 3-4 scheme and then last season after the defense moved to a 4-3 alignment.

But in the OTA practices that have been open to the media this spring, Odrick has been working at defensive tackle, the same position he played during his stellar career at Penn State University.

“It’s been good,” Odrick said. “It’s like riding a bike. It’s not like I didn’t play there at all last year or the past couple of years. It’s always great when you get to move things around and play different things and do different things. It’s been fun so far this spring.”

Odrick started 12 games at left defensive end for the Dolphins in 2012 after starting seven games at that spot the previous year. He did, however, slide inside when the Dolphins went to four-man fronts in obvious passing situations.

In addition to his previous experience as a 4-3 defensive tackle, Odrick’s build — he’s listed at 6-5, 302 pounds on the Dolphins roster — is more typical of an interior lineman than an end in a 4-3 scheme.

“It wasn’t a surprise before the draft or after the draft,” Odrick said of the move. “A lot of people here get paid money to make decisions like that and they’re making those decisions. We made those decisions cohesively and everybody is working.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin, though, isn’t ready to say that the plan definitely is for Odrick to play defensive tackle in 2013.

“Not necessarily,” Philbin said. “As we said to the players, the OTAs are about creating as many opportunities as we can for the players to compete for playing time. It’s a time to experiment. It’s a time to look at guys in different spots, with different groups, see if we can get some cohesiveness with different combinations of players and that type of thing. So it’s a time for us to look at guys at different spots.”

Regardless of where he lines up, Odrick will be looking to build on a solid 2012 season.

Odrick ended the season with 35 tackles and ranked second on the team with five sacks and 12 tackles for loss, just one off Cameron Wake’s team-leading total.

“I thought it was good,” Odrick said. “There’s a lot of things I want to improve on, lot of things. There’s a lot of things that I felt I did good, that I want to build on top of. Whether they’re seen or unseen by the untrained eye, so be it. But I’ve got a job to do and that’s what we’re all out here for and that’s to improve upon our prior season.”

If the Dolphins decide to move Odrick to tackle, he’ll join a talented group that includes former Pro Bowl selections Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, as well as free agent acquisition Vaughn Martin.

If he ends up staying at defensive end, Odrick once again will team up with Wake in a group also including second-year player Olivier Vernon and first-round pick Dion Jordan.

“Versatility in anything makes you, I guess, more valuable to anybody and that’s any position,” Odrick said. “I’m just trying to work, master my craft, whatever that craft may be.”

The current transition for Odrick, really, isn’t nearly as drastic as the one he underwent after earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009.

Back then, he not only switched positions but also went from a four-man front to a three-man front.

“When I got drafted to be a 3-4 D-end, it was something I had to adjust to and get used to,” Odrick said. “And now I’m sitting over here asking Coach, ‘When can I two-gap? Let me two-gap one or two plays this series.’ It’s something that is actually revered as a specialty. It’s something that I’m proud that I learned and I can carry it over to many other defenses.”

After the Dolphins wrap up their offseason work next week with the three-day minicamp, Odrick will head back to his home state of Pennsylvania. On June 15, he will host the inaugural Jared Odrick Golf Classic at Royal Oaks Golf Course in Lebanon, Pa., with all proceeds from the event benefiting Operation Give-Back, which provides support for deployed military, military families, disabled veterans, fallen law enforcement and first responders.

Odrick and his teammates will get back to work in July, at which time he might have a better idea about his job description for the upcoming season.

In the meantime, Odrick will just continue to re-familiarize himself with his old job.

“It’s just something that we want to see and the coaches want to see, and we want to see as an organization and myself,” Odrick said. “It’s good work, it’s good reps and I like it. I have fun. I’m not sure if it’s going to be an end-all, be-all, but we’ll see what happens.

“It’s all still football at the end of the day. It’s a position that I’ve played before and that I’m comfortable playing. We’ll see how much I’m there and how much I’m somewhere else.”

Ask Odrick for his preference and you’ll get this very simple answer: “Wherever I can help the team most. And that’s what we’re trying to find out.”
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