Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
Moving on with our draft coverage, we take a closer look at Oregon defensive standout Dion Jordan.
Dion Jordan is an immensely talented pass rusher from the University of Oregon. This draft class will feature some unique pass rushers, but Jordan may be the most physically gifted. Over the past few years, we've seen dynamic athletes with size explode onto the NFL scene. From Jason Pierre-Paul to Aldon Smith, long-armed pass rushers are starting to become a highly sought after commodity.
Jordan is one of the most interesting players in this year's draft class. He's such a unique talent because he has a rare combination of size, speed and pass rushing ability.
Bio: Jordan was heavily recruited coming out of Chandler, Arizona by a lot of the Pac-12 schools, but he opted to take his talents up to Oregon. Originally recruited to play tight end, Jordan was used sparingly during his first two years in college. In 2010, the Oregon coaching staff decided they wanted to see what Jordan could do at defensive end. Since making that move, Jordan has exploded onto the national scene as one of the most exciting defensive players in college football.
Positives: The first thing that stands out about Jordan is his size. Oregon lists him at 6'7" and 243 pounds. I haven't seen any measurements for his arm length yet, but just by looking at him on tape I can tell that he has the type of arms that will give offensive lineman a lot of trouble.
Jordan's athleticism is what separates him from the other defensive ends in college football. He can actually drop back into coverage very well. Oregon has even lined him up on the slot wide receiver, and Jordan did a great job. You would think that a guy 6'7" would be stiff moving back into coverage, but Jordan almost has the movement of a free safety with range to cover a lot of ground.
Jordan does possess the skill set that could make him a very dangerous pass rusher on the next level. He has a great first step and can blow by the offensive tackle with his speed. He knows how to bend and drop his shoulders coming off the edge. His acceleration and burst help him close in on the quarterback for a sack, but he also has the speed to become a sideline-to-sideline player that makes tackles all over the field.
If you are big on upside, then Jordan may be your guy for the Dallas Cowboys with the 18th overall pick. Jordan has one of the highest ceilings of any player in this draft. He is scheme versatile and can lineup as a defensive end in a 4-3 or he can stand up as a 3-4 outside linebacker. This kid can do it all, and Rob Ryan could really use a player like this on his defense.
Negatives: Jordan does have some issues against the run. In order for him to become dominant against the run, then he will need to add more weight to his frame. Jordan does have the frame to add 10-15 more pounds, so I don't think that will be a problem for him. With more strength, Jordan wouldn't be taken out of the play so easily because he would be able to shed blocks easier.
While Jordan has already developed into a really good pass rusher, he will have some work cut out for him once he gets into the NFL. He will need to work on developing more pass rushing moves and he really needs to work on his power moves. Jordan definitely knows how to use his speed and long arms, he just needs to work on his strength and hand placement technique.
His weigh in at the NFL Combine will be interesting to see because NFL personnel will want to see if he added any more weight to his frame. If he does bulk up 10-15 pounds, then Jordan will be one of the best pass rushing prospects in the draft.
There could be some concern that he is the total "boom or bust" prospect. About four years ago, Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson was a prospect who had similar athleticism and size. Johnson didn't live up to his draft hype, but in his last two seasons he has finally enjoyed a lot of success because the Cincinnati Bengals found a natural position for him.
If the team that drafts Jordan doesn't figure out how to use him, then he could follow a similar path.
Conclusion: 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.
If there is anyone like Aldon Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft, then it would be Dion Jordan. He's a rare prospect, but there is a chance he could fall to us at 18.
Dion Jordan 2012 Highlights ᴴᴰ (via ThatHighlightChannel)