In a draft full of skilled pass-rushers, Oregon's Dion Jordan is the cream of the crop.
A few months ago, Jordan was projected as a mid-to-late first-rounder. Now it's a battle between him and Barkevious Mingo for the top spot, and of the two, Jordan gets the edge.
Jordan is a freak athlete. At 6'6" with his quickness and agility, offensive linemen are going to have a hard time dealing with him. Jordan can also change direction well, and his speed will allow him to track down running backs and wide receivers who get out in the open.
What's even better is how skilled Jordan is at the point of attack. He's still a bit raw, but you could say that about almost every single pass-rusher in the draft. Unlike some other prospects, Jordan's technique won't need a ton of work when he hits the NFL. His footwork is very good, and he knows how to use his hands to disengage from offensive linemen.
The biggest knock on Jordan is his physicality. He's still got a bit of a lanky frame, and as a result tends to rely on his superior athleticism. In the NFL, he'll simply be a man among men. Athletic gifts can only get you so far if you don't use them properly.
After he's drafted this weekend, Jordan will need to add some bulk. Whichever team drafts him will immediately put him on some kind of strengthening regimen. Considering how in shape Jordan is, getting bigger shouldn't be a major issue. Should he get stronger, Jordan would become an unstoppable force.
Durability was a concern, and that's what led to many projecting Jordan later in the first round. According to B/R injury expert Will Carroll, Jordan's shoulder injury will have little bearing on his NFL career:
Jordan's shoulder injury was corrected by surgery and should have little to no effect on his pro career. Several players at this position have come back from this kind of surgery with no long-term effect. The time he needs to heal will have him back for training camp, allowing him to integrate with whatever team grabs him in the draft.
With Mingo, there's no doubting his physical tools. The issue is whether he'll develop the skills necessary to be more than a one-trick pony. It's fair to question if Mingo will be able to evolve his game against NFL linemen when he wasn't able to do that in his three years at LSU.
There's more risk in drafting Mingo than there is Jordan.
Jordan, who has displayed tremendous versatility in college and has a much more polished technique, is the better pick at pass-rusher in the 2013 NFL draft.