Right now most mock drafts have Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan being selected by the Saints with the 15th overall pick in this year's NFL Draft. While that will surely change as we get closer to the actual draft, I figured we better take a closer look at the former tight end turned defensive end, just in case the Saints actually do pull the trigger on him this April.
But I'm no NFL Draft analyst, so I went ahead an compiled the analyses of those people who consider themselves analysts so you can make your own observations and judgments.
The one thing you'll notice that all the analysts can agree on is not only Jordan's size but also his surprising athleticism within that massive frame. But at 6'7" 243 lbs., he's a 'tweener. So unless he gets stronger at the next level, most analyst are projecting him to be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, as opposed to a defensive end.
Take a look at what all the experts have to say about Dion Jordan and then share your own thoughts and opinions below.
Dion Jordan possesses a rare blend of size and athleticism. At 6-feet-7-inches tall, Jordan moves like a safety. He has fluid hips in coverage and excellent explosion off the line of scrimmage. Oregon frequently called upon Jordan to cover tight ends and slot wide receivers one on one. Jordan's quickness and straight line speed will allow him to matchup with the athletic tight ends NFL teams are utilizing.
As a pass rusher, Jordan has plenty of room to grow, but few players in this class rush the edge like he does. Jordan gets incredible bend around the edge, showing the flexibility to maintain his speed and get after the quarterback. Jordan also has tremendous length for a pass rusher, which he combines with an explosive first step off the line off scrimmage to consistently beat tackles. Jordan also has great closing speed both when getting after the quarterback and chasing down ball carriers in the open field.
The biggest pros to Jordan's game are his upside and his versatility. This is just Jordan's third season playing defensive end after coming to Oregon as a tight end. He can stand up and play in space as a rush linebacker, but he also has the frame to add some weight and become a dominant 4-3 end. The possibilities are plenty if a creative defensive coordinator gets his hands on Jordan.
Tall end/linebacker hybrid with excellent length. Definitely not contact-shy, extends his long arms to land a strong punch on blockers, can disengage to chase plays from behind or grab ballcarriers coming into his area. Also willing to mix it up when challenged. Long strides allow him to cover ground quickly when closing or after his strong get-off with his hand down, but also shows enough bend and short-area quickness to avoid linemen. Lines up against slot receivers and tight ends, managing to stay with them in the open field in spite of his size. Flashes quickness and bend to beat tackles around the corner, can counter with an inside rush or spin move. Also quick enough to flatten down the line to make plays on inside runs. Willing to stick his shoulder into a lead blocker to free up other defenders.
Rare athleticism for his size with loose hips and smooth footwork to move naturally in any direction. Looks like a basketball small forward in football pads with his tall, long frame and flexible joints, looking comfortable in space.
Fluid change of direction skills in his transition, quickly redirecting. Very good first step with natural bend and closing burst off the edge to flatten to the quarterback. Active and doesn't quit. Uses his length well with violent hand use, using quick mitts to make it tough for blockers to combat them.
Physical striker to separate man from ball with the arms to easily wrap and finish. Fiery demeanor and has a good head on his shoulders. Good awareness and experience lining up all over the defenses' front-7, even spending time covering the slot receiver and dropping in coverage. Still growing and sky is the limit with his athletic potential.
• Large frame with long arms and growth potential
• Smooth and fluid with fantastic natural athleticism
• Excellent speed, quickness and agility with a burst
• Able to effectively bend off of edge and run the arc
• Varied repertoire of pass rush moves and counters
• Active with superb range and is fantastic in pursuit
• Reliable tackler who is capable of delivering a jolt
• Uses hands well to take on and then shed blockers
• Durable with surprising toughness and great motor
• Will offer both positional and schematic versatility
While Jordan is an explosive athlete, he needs to become a more physical player to reach his full potential. He often gets completely washed out in the running games. On occasion, Jordan has allowed himself to be blocked by wide receivers far too easily. As a tackler, Jordan has a ways to go. He can lay the wood on ball carriers, but too often takes sloppy angles or fails to wrap up. A disappointing number of tackles slipped through his arms this season.
As a pass rusher, Jordan needs to be stronger. His speed moves are on an elite level, but he needs to be able to out muscle opposing linemen to get to the quarterback. I would love to see Jordan develop a wider array of pass rush moves if he plans on playing down in a 4-3 consistently. While he was constantly trying different moves, Jordan needs to continue to develop his pass rush moves at the next level. His hand use is also inconsistent, as he lets guys into his chest too often.
Might be an end/linebacker ‘tweener for some teams due to his tall, lean frame. Must improve upper-body strength to get off blocks and gain leverage against NFL-caliber linemen. His height will make it more difficult for him to get low to stop ballcarriers' momentum or corral them in the open field. Inconsistent working through initial contact to chase plays and finding the ball in the backfield. Susceptible to cut blocks in space, must learn to see and beat them with his hands. Can get knocked off his pass rush route by a strong punch.
Lean and lanky body type. Needs to add bulk to his frame and get stronger, but there are questions about how much weight he can add to his body. Lacks dominant upper body power to win with his hands. Still learning his pass rush moves and needs to develop in this area.
Needs to stay controlled, often overrunning the pocket or his intended target. Lacks experience putting his hand on the ground and rushing from a 3-point stance. Lacks a natural position and will be viewed as a defensive end by some and a strong-side linebacker by others.
Still raw in a lot of areas and will need time to grow at the next level. Strong durability concerns with various injuries over his career, notably a tender right shoulder that plagued him much of 2012. Only average production at Oregon with just 14.5 career sacks.
• Is not overly powerful and will have to get stronger
• Thin lower body and will have to add weight / bulk
• Tendency to get tall which leads to leverage issues
• Struggles to anchor and not real stout against run
• Ability to routinely match up in coverage a concern
• Instincts and overall awareness are questionable
• 'Tweener who may lack a true position in the pros