As we count down from 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we're getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.
Today, we take a brief look at star defensive end Cameron Jordan, and at #44 Brian Dixon, one of two identical twin brother cornerbacks... both of whom recently joined teams coached by the Ryan twins.
So, with no more ado:
44 DAYS UNTIL ATLANTA!!!
#44: Brian Dixon (CB, Rookie)
The Saints picked up this UDFA out of Northwest Missouri State moments after the draft this May. In his two seasons with the Bearcats, Dixon recorded 51 tackles, six interceptions and a recovered block punt returned for a touchdown, over the course of 25 games with 22 starts. Prior to that, he was playing at Joliet (Ill.) Junior College.
After transferring to NMS in 2012, Brian Dixon recorded 30 tackles and five interceptions in his first year. As a senior the next year, he started 12 games and recorded 21 tackles, one interception, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He also helped the Bearcats win the 2013 NCAA Division II Football Championship.
Brian has been competing with his identical twin brother, Brandon Dixon, at the same schools since Pop Warner. Now, for the first time, the twin cornerbacks will be playing on different fields, over a thousand miles away. And coincidentally, the two were drafted to play for coaches who are also twin brothers. Brian's brother was selected by the New York Jets in the sixth round of this year's draft. During his pro day, Brian actually ran the exact same time as his brother. But his draft prospects suffered when he wasn't invited to the NFL combine, likely because he missed three and a half games their senior year due to a high ankle sprain.
What's better: being drafted in the sixth round, or getting to choose your destination as an Undrafted Free Agent (UDFA)? Brian might have felt a slight sting as the draft ended; but if he makes the Saints roster, he should get the last laugh.
#94: Cameron Jordan (DE, 4th year)
A powerful and energetic player, the former University of California standout was selected by New Orleans in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and has become a leader on and off the field. A key piece in Rob Ryan's scheme, he also has the size, speed and strength to play DE in either a 3-4 or 4-3 alignment. He is also one of the more enjoyable players to watch, whether he's playing the game or talking to a camera.
After several long-time veterans were cut during last year's offseason, DE Cameron Jordan started all 16 games and had breakout year in Rob Ryan's new defense. By the end of a 2013 season in which he posted 12.5 sacks (and another 2.5 in the postseason), 66 tackles (32 solo), four passes defenses, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, Cam Jordan was selected to his first Pro Bowl.
The Saints have a powerful force in Jordan, who is now considered one of the top defensive ends in the NFL. In three seasons, he has appeared in 48 games with 47 starts in three seasons, posting career totals of 201 stops (111 solo), 21.5 quarterback takedowns, 13 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. In the past two seasons, he has garnered 20.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.
And he only just turned 25 this month.
4 yr(s) / $7,731,400. Average: $1,932,850 per year.
Unsurprisingly, the Saints exercised Jordan's fifth-year club option for 2015, which will earn him another 6,969,000. This move keeps the star DE in New Orleans for $8.4 million over the next two seasons.