Olivier Vernon a sleeper?

He played at a major college program, but he hasn’t gotten the same pub as some of the household name talents in the 2012 draft class. Miami DE Olivier Vernon won’t come off the board on the first two days of the draft in all likelihood, but he could be a very good value on day 3.

“Vernon to me, I think he’s a better player than maybe the perception, and at 6’3″, 262, I think he played defensive end, can play outside linebacker, can do a little bit of both,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. ”Has some stiffness, there’s no question.  He’s not a great athlete, and his production didn’t always match up, and I’ve heard some things, is he mature enough, how does he work and all those things.  But if he is focused and doing the right things and working at it and 100 percent dedicated to football, he’s well built, solid, strong, shows some quickness off the line, and I think he has a chance to make an impact as a pass rusher at the next level.”

The problem for Vernon is he’s very raw. He was caught up in the Nevin Shapiro scandal at Miami and was suspended for the first six games in 2011. That’s why it was surprising to see him declare early for the draft. But he was a highly touted prep player and has talent. Scouts just have to be convinced that there’s long term potential there.

He’s the kind of player that the Giants and Steelers usually draft because they have starters they can rely on while grooming a kid like this. Most draft services have him forecast anywhere from late round 5 to round 7. He also made a pre-draft visit with the Bills for what it’s worth.

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