Dion Jordan Could Be a Match For Eagles At No. 4

INDIANAPOLIS — When Dion Jordan arrived at Oregon, he envisioned himself being a major contributor in Chip Kelly’s offense.

But things don’t always work out according to plan.

The Ducks ended up moving Jordan (6-6 1/2, 248) to defense. And after two seasons as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end, he now finds himself on the cusp of being a first-round pick.

“I imagined myself running down the field, catching a bomb from Darron Thomas or [Marcus] Mariota, but things didn’t work out that way,” Jordan said. “You’ve got to adjust. I adjusted, and I took it and ran with it.

“I understood that was the best opportunity for me to get on the football field. Coach Kelly and my position coach, Coach [Jerry] Azzinaro, they had a plan for me, and I stuck with it. Things worked out for the best for me.”

There was a time when being a “tweener” would be viewed as a negative. But those days are over. Teams want safeties that can play center-field or come up in the box. And linebackers who can rush the passer and also cover tight ends.

In that respect, Jordan has a lot of appeal. He’s lined up all over the line, rushed the passer and spent a lot of time in coverage, including on slot receivers.

Asked if there’s one thing he wants to hang his hat on at the next level, Jordan said, “Pass rush. I feel like me lining up all over the field on defense just shows my athleticism, shows that I understand the game.

“But my whole thing is getting after quarterbacks, and pass-rushing. That’s my number one.”

The news out of Indianapolis is that Jordan is scheduled to have shoulder (labrum) surgery next week and is facing a three-to-four month rehab stint. He sustained the injury attempting an arm tackle during a 70-14 win over Colorado on Oct. 27, but still played in five games the rest of the way.

“I’ve dealt with it,” he said. “I only missed one game last season. I feel like it shows my toughness. I finished the season. I stayed through with my team. And I made sure as a leader, and as a senior of our team, it shows that I’m willing to win and do what it takes to compete.”

Kelly echoed those sentiments, saying Jordan had a special place in his heart.

“I think Dion’s a special player. But he’s a special player not because of his physical qualities, but because of his intangible qualities,” Kelly said.

Jordan’s projected rehab stint would likely keep him out until training camp. Then again, the team that selects him will probably be banking on his long-term upside anyway.

“I kind of like Dion Jordan who I think is two years away from being an Aldon Smith-type player,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. “He’s got frightening athletic skills, and he’s a year away. He would be a situational pass-rusher year one, and if he puts 20 pounds on, I think he’s going to be a perennial All-Pro. I really like the kid. But, again, that’s a little bit of a risk – reward. You’re betting on this kid two years from now.”

Jordan said a lot of teams are projecting him to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He said he knows he needs to add more weight to his frame, but thinks he can play effectively at 250.

As of this afternoon’s interview, Jordan had not yet met with Kelly. But the Eagles’ head coach acknowledged that he doesn’t have to do much homework on the players who were with him at Oregon.

“I would think it would be an advantage, because we know ’em,” Kelly said. “I can tell you what they’re like on the field, I can tell you what they’re like off the field, I can tell you what they’re like in the meeting room.”

The Eagles will have a lot options with the No. 4 pick. If they believe in Jordan’s upside, he could find himself once again under the wing of Kelly and Azzinaro.

“If that happens, then I’ll be glad to show up in Philly and do my best there,” he said. “But I’m not in control of that.”

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  • Sensei

    I don’t think you can draft a situation player in year one with the fourth pick you need an immediate impact player it just so happens that there should be one or two left over

    • GGeagle

      NO,NO,NO! Its about finding a player that will make multiple probowls for you at his position! A guy like Jarvis Jones will probably be better than Jordan as a rookie..But 2 years from now Jordan could be a perenial probowler. How shortsighted do you need to be to pass up a perenial probowler because he might not give you much in year 1? We sat Vinny Curry an entire year, its not the end of the world. What did Graham gives us in year 1? very little, looks like he figured it out and is on his way to being a player. You take the player that will have the best career, you dont even factor his rookie year into the equation!

      • nicksaenz1

        Graham didn’t give much in year 2 either lol. He was solid last year, and I think this may be his year.

        • GGeagle

          thats the point. when drafting players, you should even be concerned with what they give you in year one….You draft the guy that will give you the best career

      • ICDogg

        I don’t care about pro bowls.

    • ICDogg

      I don’t think he’s a situation player. He’s a versatile every down player.

      • CJ

        If by situation player, he means Jordan can be on the field regardless of the situation, then he’s right. But if he means what I think he means, he’s nuts. Jordan can cover the slot and rush the passer among other things. The one thing he isn’t is situational. He is a Swiss Army knife for goodness sake.

  • nicksaenz1

    If they want to take Jordan with their first pick, personally, I would trade down. Give the Cards the 4th for their 7th and 69th, and potentially their second 6th rd pick. If anyone needs O-Linemen it’s the Cards. Kolb cowers in fear whenever he says “hut”.

    • GGeagle

      you dont know that! Jordan can beast this combine and shoot up the board. 3 days from now he could be considered a top 3 pick. He plays an extremely important position for our new defense…If Gamble,McGovern and chip believe he will become an all pro in 2 years, then I wouldnt get cute trading down, cause a guy like Ray Horton aint stupid and could have him snatched up!

      • nicksaenz1

        I’m just going on what we know now, prior to the combine. “Don’t Call Me” Howie could always draft the guy the Cards want at the 4th, and trade for his rights for the 7th for security sake. Of course, if he kills the draft and goes top 3, all the chatter is for nothing.

        • GGeagle

          do those sort of trades happen in football? I know they happen in basketball, but I cant recall someone drafting a player, and then swapping him for another player on draft day in the nfl….can anyone confirm, or deny this?

          • nicksaenz1

            I can’t remember, and I was going to add that in, but I figured I’d be corrected at some point if not.

          • wahoo

            Eli Manning was picked #1 by Chargers and traded same day to Giants for Rivers their #1 pick plus some extra stuff

          • ICDogg

            yeah, they prefer not to do it that way because the rookie cap allotment does not move with the player when traded.

          • ICDogg

            Eli Manning from SD to Giants

      • thefadd

        he can’t beast the combine with a torn labrum. if anything he’ll be a steal in the 8-12 range.

  • ICDogg

    It’s hard to place some guys on the board because of proven performance vs upside. IMO Ziggy Ansah might have more upside than anyone in this draft, but where to you rank him overall since he is such an unproven prospect?

    • aub32

      Would you feel the same way about his potential if not for the emergence of JPP? I haven’t seen much of him outside the senior bowl, so I can’t say for sure, but it seems like his comparisons to JPP are what’s making him rise in draft speculation.

      • ICDogg

        He obviously has a lot of raw talent and has only played the game 3 years, and keeps getting better and better. And he has a lot of highlight reel-worthy plays.

  • ICDogg

    Jordan is a nice prospect, but he’s injured now and that will knock him down a few pegs in terms of where he’s likely to get picked.

  • thefadd

    if the Eagles switch to the 3-4, he’d be the best LB on the team by week 8. unfortunately to switch to the 3-4 this year, we’d have to draft the guy from Utah #1.

    • CJ

      Not necessarily. There’s a ton of NTs in this draft

      • nicksaenz1

        Could also throw a few extra dollars at Sopoaga to fill the spot for the next few years

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    Seems like a bit of a project for the #4 pick.

  • Jordan has tremendous upside. His immediate value is his versatility. The guy can cover the slot, TE & speed rush the passer now and do that well. Where he needs to improve is his strength, add some weight (265 would be ideal) & improve his hands to fight through blocks (both in pass rush & run game). He gets blocked by running backs easily, so adding weight and strength in his quads & shoulders would help him drive through players with a lower center of gravity. His speed is excellent, especially for his size. Having an injured shoulder would stunt his development because he wouldn’t be able to build his shoulders or work on his hands until fully healed, but he could definitely work on building his lower half. I also think he could play a few downs on offense, when down low in the red zone and be an asset as a big target with him being a former TE. He could help in his rookie season, that’s for sure. His versatility proves that. But he wouldn’t reach full potential until he improves his strength and ability to shed blocks and it looks like there is a limited amount of time for that this offseason with his injury. That said, I think the reward is worth the risk because if he reaches full potential he’ll be a disruptive defensive franchise player for years. If not, I still think you get a player that you can line up all over the place and utilize his size and speed.

  • Robert

    Yeah Dion Jordan is a beast.A 4.53 that’s a great 40 time.Aldon Smith all over again.