Analyzing Draft Prospects: Dion JordanBREAKING NEWS, News, NFLDraft Sunday, February 24th, 2013
Dion Jordan, an Oregon “pass rusher”, is one of those guys. Jordan, who stands 6-6 and weighs in at 245 pounds, was named to the all-PAC 12 team and was a Dick Butkus Award finalist in 2012.
The term “pass rusher” is one of the ways Jordan is defined and is listed as his position by some professionals. Technically, Jordan is a DE/OLB but he spent plenty of time dropping into coverage and even lining up opposite slot wide receivers.
“Because of my athleticism,” says Jordan “I can play with my hand on the ground or I can cover guys in space playing linebacker.”
The Oregon Duck was recruited as a wide receiver out of high school and played tight end in his first year in Eugene. Mike Mayock of NFL Network, one of the most respected minds in NFL Draft knowledge, labeled Jordan as a player with “frightening athletic skills.” At 6-6, the athletic skills necessary to excel on the defensive side of the football are rare.
Jordan spent much of his time with the Ducks in a two-point stance, rarely with his hand on the ground as he described. His position was that of a typical 3-4 linebacker, only more versatile. Jordan lined up on the left, on the right, in the middle, then in the slot; all in a single series. It was impossible for one person to be assigned to Jordan and expect to stop him. Sacking the quarterback 14.5 times in his three years as a pass rusher, the towering athlete was no stranger to getting in the backfield.
The only knock on Jordan is also his greatest strength: his size. At 6-6 he only weighs in at 245 pounds, a weight that would get man-handled by NFL offensive tackles. Mayock added to his analysis: “I think Jordan is two years away from being an Aldon Smith-type player…He’s a situational pass rusher in year one and if he puts 20 pounds on, I think he’s going to be a perennial All-Pro.”
Aldon Smith has sacked the quarterback 33.5 times in his two years in the league. When comparing the two, Jordan has displayed similarities to Smith including many of the same pass rushing moves and nearly identical speed. The NFC Champion was the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft, an area that would be more likely than drafting Jordan fourth overall, where the Eagles currently sit.
Jordan has two inches on Smith yet is outweighed by 15 pounds. For Jordan to have the same impact he did while at Oregon, he will have to bulk up while remaining fast and fit. Chip Kelly’s defense, like his offense, will be a fast-speed, high-paced defense. Jordan excelled in it before and he seems to be a perfect fit for what the Eagles are expected to look like in 2013.
Without any standout, definite, top-five players in the draft, trading back a couple spots may be a hard move to complete. Teams in need of offensive linemen could benefit from holding a top-five pick with Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, and Alabama’s Chance Warmack all expected to be very high draft picks. Before free agency opens it is unknown what team needs will be like come April 25th, so projecting teams that may want to move up is nearly impossible.
The Eagles “team needs” cover almost all possible positions. A strong draft and an active free agency period will be necessary to compete in 2013.
The risk of “betting on a kid two years from now” (per Mayock) could be highly outweighed by the rewards any player being compared to Aldon Smith could bring. With Oregon’s former head coach leading the show in Philly and Jerry Azzinaro, Dion Jordan’s position coach in Oregon, as Chip Kelly’s second-in-command, there is no reason for Jordan not to be linked to the Eagles early in draft speculation.
The Eagles have many other areas of concern but with Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, and Todd Herremans all returning from injury in 2013, the Eagles offensive line will not be made up of spare parts as in 2012. While the top offensive linemen will be hard to pass on, the Eagles defense is unquestionably the bigger area of concern for the Eagles.
A defensive overhaul and change of scheme is in the works for the Eagles and early draft picks on the defensive side of the ball are all but guaranteed. Dion Jordan has a history with the Eagles new staff and fills an area of need for the team. Come April, Jordan will be one of the names on the Eagles short list of players they will want to join the team.
NOTE: Michael Johnson of the Bengals could make this whole argument invalid. He is reportedly in talks with the Bengals on a contract extension and wants to stay in Cincinnati but if the 6-7, 270 pound, athletic defensive end hits free agency, the Eagles will have to seriously consider spending some of their huge cap space on him.
Follow Brenden on Twitter @brendenp2011 for Eagles news and updates or email him here: BPeddigree2011@gmail.com.
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