Many defenses in the NFL covet hybrid defenders who can both attack the quarterback and defend receivers in space, and Oregon Ducks senior defensive end Dion Jordan could turn out being a good fit with the right team in the 2013 NFL Draft.
In 2012, Jordan tallied 44 tackles (10.5 of those going for a loss), as well as five sacks with one interception and three forced fumbles. After suffering a shoulder injury late in the season, the 6'7, 241-pounder will likely miss this week's Senior Bowl. Jordan is listed as the 11th-best prospect on SB Nation's big board of 100 players and is the third-best defensive end in the draft.
- In Matthew Fairburn of SB Nation's scouting report, he notes that Jordan "moves like a safety," while adding that the defensive end covered anyone from tight ends to slot receivers, a pretty strong indicator of the many ways that NFL teams could utilize his abilities.
- Potential. As Fairburn writes, defensive coordinators could really let loose in unleashing Jordan's talent on the NFL.
- CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler notes that, for all his versatility in coverage, his quick burst around offensive linemen could make him primarily a strong pass-rushing threat.
From DraftBreakdown.com, here's Jordan against Arizona State, in which he totaled five tackles and 2.0 sacks:
- NFL.com's profile gives Jordan the 'tweener' label that can sometimes keep players off the field, though it's still hard to imagine the team drafting him would not have a plan of some sort in place.
- Because of his basketball player-like build, NFL.com also notes that it probably wouldn't hurt for Jordan to add upper-body strength, especially for pass-rushing.
- Finishing tackles. Fairburn writes that "a disappointing number of tackles slipped through his arms this season," which definitely doesn't sound good.
NFL.com compares Jordan to former San Francisco 49er Julian Peterson, while Fairburn goes with a more current Niner in Aldon Smith, though there's a gap between draft prospect Smith and draft prospect Jordan. Either way, it's not hard to see the upside in Jordan, especially for a 3-4 defense or any team looking for a faster, sleeker upgrade to their outside linebacking and/or defensive end units. In his most recent mock draft from Jan. 21, Fairburn thinks Jordan will fall to No. 12 overall and the Miami Dolphins, citing the Too Much Talent To Pass Up category of draft strategy:
The Dolphins have been linked to wide receivers so far in the pre-draft process. With Brian Hartline as the team's best weapon in the passing game, young quarterback Ryan Tannehill clearly needs more to work with.But Dion Jordan is a big time talent that doesn't normally make it out of the top 10 picks. His shoulder injury will cause him to slide, but Jordan has a combination of pass rush and cover skills that NFL teams will love.
From SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn:
LB1. Dion Jordan, Oregon - Can play either a 3-4 or 4-3. Such a smooth and explosive athlete. A defensive weapon. #BurnsBoard— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 25, 2013
Jordan has rare athleticism for his size, showing loose hips and smooth footwork to move naturally in any direction. He looks like a basketball small forward in football pads with fluid athleticism for a player with his height and length.
Listed at 6-7 and 240 pounds, Jordan needs to continue to add weight and fill out his frame, lacking much of a power element to his game. But as a pass rusher, he has a quick first step with acceleration to beat blockers and flatten out to close on the quarterback.
Jordan, who played tight end up until spring of 2010, made first team all-PAC-12 both of his seasons as a starter. He had 7.5 sacks as a junior and five more as a senior. Here's a full look at his stats - note the two 2-point conversions, one of which came in the Fiesta Bowl to give his team an 8-0 lead. He's got a unique enough skill set to allow him to do lots of things like that, often lining up on slot receivers even though he's a defensive lineman.
- Cowboys blog Blogging the Boys had lots of good things to say about Jordan, hoping he falls to them at No. 18.
Jordan is a freak athlete that has all of the physical skills to become a great player in the NFL. If the Cowboys find themselves on the clock with Jordan available, then they will need to consider it. The pass rush has been in a decline the past two seasons, and they need to add more sizzle.