The AFC East blog continues its series on players with a lot to prove in 2012. Next up is a defensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins.
Jared Odrick, Dolphins
2011 stats: 22 tackles, six sacks, one interception
What he must prove: Odrick must prove that he's ready to be a full-time starter. Odrick, a former first-round pick, has eight starts the past two seasons. Injuries stopped his rookie year but he played well in a reserve role and as a part-time starter in 2011. Odrick recorded a career-high six sacks last season in limited playing time. The departures of defensive linemen such as Jason Taylor (retirement) and Kendall Langford (free agency) this offseason will thrust Odrick into the starting lineup. The Dolphins are also going to a 4-3 defense this season under new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. The scheme puts more emphasis on the defensive line.
Walker's 2012 outlook: I like Odrick's chances. He has a lot of raw ability, versatility, and is learning the NFL game. Odrick is probably the only Dolphins defensive lineman capable of playing defensive tackle and defensive end. That will make it hard to keep Odrick off the field. More reps and playing time will mean more production. As long as Odrick stays healthy, expect to see more strides in 2012.