We are quickly approaching the offseason, and names are starting to be thrown in the air for who the Jacksonville Jaguars should sign in free agency and acquire in the 2016 NFL draft. While we're breaking down draft prospects, free agency will be just as important in garnering talent.
And one of those targets could very well be Miami Dolphins defensive end/outside linebacker Olivier Vernon.
The Jaguars are in desperate need of new pass rushers. With 29 sacks and 187 total tackles compiled in his four years in the NFL, Vernon could be a key free agency target for Jacksonville.
At the age of 25, Vernon is certainly entering his prime, and will almost certainly be heading into the new league year as a free agent. The Dolphins have to clear nearly $8.1 million in cap space while still build their team, so it looks like Vernon -- and his impending payday -- are on their way out.
The Jaguars certainly need an upgrade over Chris Clemons and Andre Branch at LEO and 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr. isn't going to magically fix the team's pass rush situation himself. Plus, the Jaguars have said repeatedly they're willing to move Fowler across the field defensively, which opens spots for Vernon to come into play. Vernon can line up with his hands in the dirt to rush the passer as well as stand and set the edge as a pass rusher.
Vernon displays his speed from getting off the line into the backfield and makes a nice push move on Buffalo Bills left tackle, easily making his way to and sacking Kyle Orton.
Below is a play that Vernon made against the Jaguars in Blake Bortles' first career start. Strength, speed, and a quick spin move puts an unaware Bortles on his back.
Vernon begins the play as a standing linebacker and blitzes, meeting left tackle Josh Wells and using a nasty spin move to blow by Wells and deliver a sack on Bortles. I hate watching Bortles get sacked, but damn, this is a good play.
Finally, here's a play where Vernon creates a sack-fumble on San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. Vernon powers through the left tackle and finds Rivers, and not only does he hit Rivers hard, but he knocks the ball out, causing a fumble that the Dolphins recovered at the Chargers' 12-yard line.
So, what do you think? Should the Jaguars go after Vernon if and when he hits the market this March? If not, then who should they target? Let us know in the comments below!