NFL Draft Profile: Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan

This is the third in a series. Between now and April’s draft, we’ll profile as many prospects as possible.

THE RESUME

Chip Kelly did not attempt to hide his true feelings last week when asked about his former player, Dion Jordan.

“Dion’s just a special guy in my heart,” Kelly said. “I had an opportunity to be with him for five years. He came into Oregon as a receiver, moved to tight end, we switched him over to defense the beginning of his sophomore year. He just had a huge impact, not only on the field but off the field.”

Jordan, a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Arizona, had visions of spending his college career as a key part of Kelly’s high-powered offense. But instead, he was moved to the defensive side of the ball. The 6-6, 248-pound defensive end/outside linebacker flourished in two seasons as a starter. He was an All-Pac 12 selection in 2011 and had five sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and an interception as a senior.

Jordan will have surgery next week to repair a torn labrum (shoulder). He played the end of last season with the injury, but will face a three-to-four month recovery period.

Jordan has received plenty of accolades this week after running a 4.60 at the Combine. But before he even made it to Oregon, he saw his life flash before his eyes as a 17-year-old. From Paolo Boivin of The Arizona Republic:

The next day, following a morning practice, he visited a friend. One of the cars at the house ran out of gas and Jordan watched as his friends tried to siphon some from another car using a vacuum cleaner. They stopped for a while but left the vacuum on and walked out of the garage. Jordan looked over. Someone should turn that off, he thought.

He walked into the garage, alone, and flipped the vacuum’s “off” switch. It released a spark, which triggered a flash fire that leaped onto Jordan. He stumbled outside, not realizing the severity of his injuries until he looked at his arms and legs. Everyone else understood. He needed an air-evac unit immediately.

Jordan suffered second- and third-degree burns on 40 percent of his body. He spent more than a week in the hospital and a month in the burn unit. But Oregon continued to recruit him, and Jordan now is a couple months away from being a first-round pick.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Jordan ranked ninth on his big board:

Not sure he needs to bulk up because he offers plenty as he is, a potentially great 3-4 OLB. There’s some projection left if you see Jordan as a guy who should move to 4-3 DE, but I think he’s pretty good where he is. He went to Oregon with the possibility of playing either offense (TE) or defense (DE), but has emerged as an athletic, long-armed pass-rusher ready to help a team.

ESPN.com’s Todd McShay has him 11th:

Jordan dealt with a nagging shoulder injury late in the season, but he is long and athletic and has explosive upper-body power despite his lean frame. He can rush the passer from a two- or three-point stance, holds up in space and has the versatility to play multiple roles along the front seven.

NFL.com compares Jordan to Julian Peterson:

His box scores may not appeal to everyone, but Jordan was frequently asked to cover receivers or tight ends after lining up in the slot opposite them. His future appears to be at strongside linebacker in a four man front, with the ability to rush the passer, or as an outside linebacker in a three-man front.

Josh Norris of Rotoworld has Jordan eighth overall:

A personal favorite. Extremely fluid and agile from his linebacker spot. Could see him thriving as a strong side linebacker who moves into a pass rushing role when called upon. Strong hands and flashes persistence around the corner.

AN EAGLES SLANT

There’s a lot to like about Jordan from an Eagles perspective. He’s long, fast and versatile. And no team will know Jordan’s strengths and weaknesses better than the Birds. Remember, it’s not just Kelly. Defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro coached Jordan at Oregon.

In a 3-4 scheme, Jordan would be an outside linebacker. I get the sense that pre-snap disguise will be a big part of what defensive coordinator Billy Davis wants to do. Jordan would fit in well with his ability to rush the passer and cover. In a 4-3 under scheme, he would likely be the SAM linebacker. Again, his versatile skill set would benefit him there as well.

As I’ve written before, the term “tweener” used to be a bad thing. But I don’t think that’s the case anymore. We still have two months to go, but right now, Jordan should be considered on the short list of potential Eagles targets with the No. 4 pick.

MOCK PROJECTIONS

* Keep in mind that many of these were published pre-Combine.

Kiper has Jordan going ninth to the Jets.

McShay has him at No. 5 to the Lions.

Tony Pauline of USA Today has the Eagles landing Jordan at No. 4.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has him going eighth to the Bills.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has Jordan lasting all the way to the Saints at 15.

VIDEO BREAKDOWNS

Here is a cut-up of Jordan against Washington State last season, courtesy of the fine folks at DraftBreakdown.com.

I mentioned pre-snap disguise and Jordan’s versatility above. On one play at the 7:54 mark, he initially lines up against the slot receiver.

But instead of dropping back into coverage, he comes on a blitz. Here, you see he goes right around the left tackle.

And finally, he hits the QB.

On a different play (3:38 mark), Jordan sets up at the line of scrimmage like he’s going to rush the passer.

But he drops back into coverage.

As you can see, the key with Jordan is versatility. If you’re a 4-3 team looking for someone to stick his hand in the ground and rush the passer on every play (think 2011 and 2012 Eagles), he’s probably not that guy. Maybe he could be with some added weight, but that would be a projection.

Instead, Jordan will stand up, and use his length and quickness to rush the passer from a variety of spots. And of course, he can drop back and cover too.

At the 4:34 mark, you can see him stick with a slot receiver in coverage. And at the 3:50 mark, you can see the offense try to unsuccessfully block him with a running back as Jordan picks up a sack.

To watch more of Jordan at Oregon, click here.

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  • T Beezy

    This guy is the deal. Would be a perfect fit for the new defensive scheme.

  • Tom W

    Nice work. Hope this kid doesnt end up going to Gus and the jags or raiders ahead of us after combine workout and Oregon’s pro-day.

  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    Excellent write up Sheil, as usual. I have to question this guys productivity against quality opponents. He didn’t look so good against stellar tackles in the pac 12. I wonder if he’s capable of performing up to task against NFL Tackles. It’s one thing to dominate Fresno State and another to struggle against Big 12 or SEC Tackles.

    • CJ

      It’s a two way street there. you’re not going to see him triple teamed at the next level or playing end in a 2-4 nickelor whatever some of those crazy alignments were. If he’s drafted to play predator, there’s definitely concern there. If he’s your SAM and mostly just blitzing when you’re bringing 5+, I’m not too worried about it, tackles won’t get many 1 on 1s with him in those types of matchups.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        In Billy Davis’ scheme (and most of the true 3-4s as well) the SAM is asked to rush 70% of the time according to Sheil’s research.

        If you are looking for a linebacker to play mostly coverage instead, the #4 pick is way too much of an investment.

        • CJ

          maybe that’s the wrong term on my part then. as far as too much of an investment, have you seen the way Eagles safeties and LBs cover?

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            If you are looking to improve team coverage, SAM linebacker is just not the place to start. It is a secondary skill for that position (or even tertiary you could argue).

  • JofreyRice

    I actually think Barkevious Mingo is a better pure rusher as an 3-4 OLB, but Jordan can do so much.

    I guess it comes down to the Ryan Tannehill factor–we’re in a similar situation to what the Dolphins were last year. They needed a QB, this team needs a strongside LB. Ryan Tannehill was there, and the OC, Mike Sherman, coached him at aTm. Dion Jordan will be there, and Chip Kelly and Jerry A know what he can do. I think the Dolphins made the right choice in Tannehill, so if the Eagles choose Jordan, I’m pretty confident they are going to put him in a position to succeed.

  • Eoin Cunningham

    The way I look at it now the Eagles have 3 guys who can impact the team immeaditely. In no specific order:
    1. Joeckel
    2. Milliner
    3. Jordan.
    Me personally I wonder what the market for the 4th pick is like, last year it seemed like everyone wanted to trade up. I think if we play our cards right we could trade down twice and still have a pick somewhere between 11-17 and some gold for next year or maybe swap with St. Louis and get their 16th and 22nd and exploit the depth of this draft.

    • CJ

      A deal down with St. Louis intrigues me, but you can forget about those 3 then. There’s a lot of talent on the lines and all across the Defense, and having 3 of the top 35 could go a long way. If Jordan is still there at 4, I wouldn’t go that far back though. A deal down with the Jets almost guarantees the 4th and 5th picks would be DBs, and would return an extra 2nd rounder (or Revis? or throw in Foles and a later pick and get both?). Someone at 6-8 is taking a QB out of desperation (happens every year). They all need help on the OL and skill positions, so if Jordan is there at 4, I really think he’ll still be there at 9 unless someone else jumps in there.

      If Jordan’s gone, everyone else to me has questions. There’s about 25 guys graded in the first 1 1/2 rounds in this draft that would fit our needs + scheme, but outside of like 4 of them they all have holes. There’s about another 6 who don’t fit at all and invariably more that teams will reach for and push guys that fit down the board. You could move back to 16 and 22 and with your high 2nd, still get three of those guys. If Jordan’s gone, that’s the best bet. I don’t even count Joeckel because I’m convinced he goes #1.

    • Graham

      I like your thinking

    • nicksaenz1

      I think the Chiefs trading for Smith takes Joeckel off that board. I think Warmack needs to be included in that list instead. Guy is going to be the highest drafted guard in years, and with Peters, Mathis, Kelce, and Herremans, the only hole is Guard. That’s a solid starting line for Chip to work with implementing his scheme while starting to address replacements for Peters and Herremans in the next couple of years.

      I won’t disagree with any pick that is Jordan, Milliner or Mingo, but in my opinion, the priority needs to be O-line while using rounds 2-5 drafting for D. Maybe dangle Trent Cole for another mid round pick.

      • limodriver27

        Star Lucolelie. (spelling wrong, I know) might have been a good fit but do you think that a fourth pick could be utilized more effectively? Maybe Milliner or Joiner (one I know has pending shoulder/neck surgery scheduled with 2/3 month rehab will lead him to the brink of training camp w/o the benefit of spring meetings and OTAs?

        • nicksaenz1

          Lotulelei’s heart condition will ultimately determine if he goes top 5 or not. If it’s not serious, he’s probably top 5. I also don’t think the surgeries Milliner or Jordan are serious and won’t affect draft status. There are a lot of ways the Eagles can go that aren’t bad decisions. I’m just of the opinion that addressing O-Line is the best decision, namely solidifying that weak spot at guard with Warmack.

    • ICDogg

      I keep thinking and rethinking and changing my mind constantly about this. Why I do this, I have no idea. It’s not as if I have any input into this decision!

      But anyway, a guy I really like more and more for us is Sharrif Floyd. He is a lot like Fletcher Cox, and having two of them on one line would be a scary thing for opposing offenses. I also am still fascinated with Ziggy Ansah. A skilled, violent player, who has only just begun to tap his potential.

      I probably would take Joeckel first, but I don’t think he’ll be there for the taking.

      • JofreyRice

        I like Floyd, but he’s no Fletcher Cox. Even with Fletcher going later in last years draft, he’s a far superior player.

  • Andy

    How much if ever was Vinny Curry asked to drop back into coverage at WV? I’m wondering if he could fit the bill as one of the OLBs in this new scheme. He wasn’t quite as fast as Jordan at the combine (~4.8) but is 6-3 and 266 lbs. When I saw clips of him last year after the Eagles drafted him he struck me as rangy with long arms.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      Curry played for Marshall and if I recall correctly he was almost purely a pass rushing 4/3 DE. He would fit the Predator role, maybe even a 3-4 DE, I wouldn’t compare him to Jordan though. Jordan is lighter and longer. I wouldn’t trust Curry in coverage any more than ~5% of the snaps. Jordan is definitely the body type you’d want at SAM.

      • Andy

        Oops, I meant Marshall!

  • Sensei

    It all sounds good but watching that tape (at work so I only watched about half) but I saw a guy around a lot of plays but not making many

    • Engwrite

      Reminded me of one-second-too-late-Mamula. I’d rather they get a tackle at #4. It would let Herremans return to the Guard position he did so well. Even better trade down; the more picks the more chance we end up with someone good.

      • Sensei

        Jarvis Jones neck scares me but it received favorable reviews from the doctors at the combine and I believe he will make the most impact as a lb as anyone in this class he constantly made plays all over the field

        • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

          I know this is just a fantasy, but if he slides into the teens I would love for the Eagles to trade up and get him. Imagine adding Floyd and Jones in the same draft.

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    Jordan is remarkably fluid in space but yet to prove that he is able to defeat blocking. That stems from being a one trick pony as a pass-rusher. He tries to go wide almost exclusively, which means that his man is usually ready for it and knows exactly how to redirect him.

    At 1:02 you will see how easily he gets redirected upfield and out of the play by a tight end:

    youtu.be/XdpzGUxkek4

    In order to defeat this Jordan needs to develop explosiveness and pass-rushing power to go along with an array of moves. The reason Jordan goes wide so much is because he gets stopped in his tracks when he can’t get the edge. There is no “plan B” in his game yet. The result is that he runs himself out of many plays.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      Like a lot of prospects in this draft, you’re banking on his upside. He came to Oregon as a TE, has only been playing DE/OLB since 2010. The question is whether or not you’re willing to roll the dice on him being a future perennial pro bowler.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    Seems like just a month ago it was either going to be Lotulelei or Joeckel. Funny how much things change at the combine. Every1 is talking about how this guy would fit the 3-4 scheme nicely but if wee draft him are we really going to be able to pick up a NT that is equivalent to Lotulelei

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Drafting Star at 4 and sticking him at nose would be such a waste. There are plenty of cheap free agents on the market who can do that kind of yeoman’s work. NT is not this difficult to satisfy need that many are making it out to be.

      http://igglesnest.com/2013/importance-of-nose-tackle-not-think/

      • JofreyRice

        I think if they draft Star at #4, it’s to play the LE role, and to slide inside on 3rd downs to rush the passer, like Raji or Ngata. Davis used 6’5 330 lb Alan Branch for that in Arizona in ’09, and stuck 305 pound Brian Robinson on the nose–strangely enough, Branch now plays 2 gapping NT for Caroll’s 4-3 Under front in Seattle. I agree there’s no way you draft a NT to play 40% of the downs with the #4 overall pick.

        • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

          I understand that possibility, but the problem is the required pass-rush ability from that spot is entirely projection for Star. Meanwhile Floyd has shown a lot more that you can rely on as a DE. He even put Joeckel on his heels with some power moves in the A&M game.

          I think Star is best suited for DT on a 4-3 team.

          • JofreyRice

            Heart and motor issues aside, Star’s got more pass rush production in school than Floyd–and has been a focus for opposing blocking schemes for the past 2 years. He’s not some block-occupying slug in the middle of the D.

            I like Floyd, but like I said above, he’s not Fletcher Cox. I see good hand use and leverage from Floyd, but nothing in terms of the passrush moves that Cox displayed–spin, swim, rip. He also doesn’t carry his weight as well as Cox, squattier frame, shorter arms, not as good changing direction, not as explosive, not as much straight-line speed. I don’t think he’s a bum, but I don’t know he’s an ideal fit for the 5 tech, either. You’d kind of want someone a bit longer; Cox fits that bill, but he’s your best interior passrusher, as well, and has more value there.

            For me, Floyd projects best as a 3 Tech in a 4-3 defense, though I do think he could play the 5 Tech for us. IMO, he’s a little less scheme-versatile than a fully healthy, motivated Lotulelei. Ultimately, he’s a very good prospect, and its cool he’s from Philly. I’d have no beef if they took him, but I think the hype-train is moving a little quick for me.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            Production and ability are not one and the same (as Daniel T’o-nesheim and others have taught us). Sharrif Floyd is commanding double-teams wherever he moves on the line in the run-heavy SEC (at a school that is a recruiting power-house, mind you) and when the game situation allowed him to turn it loose in the 4th quarter, his ability to generate pressure against elite competition was plain to see. I value that more highly than the occasional sack vs Washington or Utah St. Scouts are calling Floyd a rare change of direction athlete with double digit sack upside.

            I also disagree about him not having moves and I think he should be a lot more versatile than Lotulelei, whose game is based almost solely on his initial steps and his power. Floyd is much better at moving, which gives him potential in a lot of different looks.

          • JofreyRice

            Good point about production vs. ability. In Star’s case, however, I think his ability to collapse the pocket, and beat double-teams is pretty well-established, and his numbers are indicative of that–can’t agree that passrush from his is “entirely projection”. The quality of opponent he faces isn’t quite the SEC, but it’s not Conference USA, either.

            I can’t say I see either of these guys as putting up 10 sacks from an interior passrush spot. I like Floyd, but I just don’t see that yet, and definitely can’t see it with him playing the LE in a 3-4 predator or 4-3 under front–setting the edge and stuffing the run.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            Star’s ability to penetrate vs the run is proven, but I can’t go along with the rest. Watch him in action.

            youtu.be/co-NvKnZzvw

            This is Star’s signature performance where he was extremely disruptive around the LOS, but I’m counting two pressures in this game (and one was on a drop-back where Barkley held on to the ball for an eternity). On the vast majority of the pass plays he gets stood in his tracks and is barely able to work his way up field. Barkley had 30 pass attempts in the game including many that are well down the field on late developing routes.

            Watch how hard Floyd is to handle in the 4th quarter vs FSU’s athletic o-line. He reels off several pressures and a sack in rapid succession:

            youtu.be/WiSY8TEzJV4

            I think one of the reasons that Daniel Jeremiah and other scouts are raving about him is because he’s still just a baby. He can’t even legally drink yet, which means he’s still several years away from his physical peak.

          • JofreyRice

            No doubt Floyd is a good player right now that has the potential to be great. If he makes it out of the top 5, he won’t make it far. If I’m the 49ers, I’m thinking about using some of that draft capital to move up to grab him somewhere in the top 10. His relentlessness & power in UF’s stunting scheme are reminiscent of Justin Smith’s game.

            What I like about Star, besides the power and burst, is his awareness. He’s a very heady player, very good feel for the game. He never loses sight of the ball, which is something I think that’s important if you’re playing that LDE spot. In that USC game, when he’s not beating Khaled Holmes, who projects as a starting caliber interior lineman in the NFL, he’s beating double-teams, flowing down the line to the ballcarrier. I think the heart thing at the combine, combined with a bit of name-fatigue is causing Star’s “stock” to drop a little–in terms of the media. The heart thing is valid, if he’s got a chronic issue, a lot of teams are going to remove him from the draft board entirely.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            The awareness factor is a good point. But I am not arguing about his heart. If his condition is correctable, it could actually “unlock” some more ability if he was playing with a ventricle at only 44% efficiency and gets it upgraded to 55 or 60%. My issue with Star is adding pass-rush value to our front. All of these positive attributes that you mention only appear consistently against the run. On pass downs, you don’t often see him getting much movement up the field at all. I don’t think NT or 5-tech are the positions that are going to get the most out of him. I think Floyd has a lot more upside as a pass-rusher which is the kind of return you need to get out of a #4 pick.

  • Sensei

    Joeckel will be gone before 4 and I’m not sure about Milliner if Stars heart condition checks out which is probable I think you have to chose him with the line needing impact bodies with the release of Jenkins and Patterson

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

    I love the wide range of abilities this kid has dropping back, speed and athleticism, etc. however he seems to be very weak and has no “punch”. While he may gain some weight and strength in a pro system he is not worthy of a top five pick. The tape posted above is enough to prove that. He doesn’t posses the raw strength to be tackles from Wash St!?!?!?!?! C’mon

  • DLawrence55

    One thing I noticed from this video? Marquess Wilson (WSU #86) might be worth taking a look at…