What Dion Jordan Brings to the Miami Dolphins

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IApril 25, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25:  Dion Jordan of the Oregon Ducks holds up a jersey on stage after he was picked #3 overall by the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins didn't have to give up much to trade up from the No. 12 overall pick to No. 3, giving up the 42nd pick to swing the deal. What they get in return, though, is defensive end Dion Jordan, who they hope is the pass-rushing presence they lack opposite Cameron Wake. 

Jordan has the potential to be an elite pass-rusher; he is bursting with athleticism, having run a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and a 4.35-second three-cone drill at the combine (via NFL.com).

Jordan's numbers may not suggest he is a standout pass-rusher, with just 12.5 sacks over the past two years combined, but he wasn't used only as a pass-rusher at Oregon. He was counted on to handle several other roles, including in coverage on tight ends and even in the slot on receivers on occasion.

With all that versatility, the question is whether he can play with his hand in the dirt on a consistent basis in a 4-3 front with the Dolphins. He did so with the Ducks, but was primarily used as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 front. 

According to Bleacher Report's Ryan Lownes, he "lacks fundamental strength" and is "a questionable 4-3 DE fit." At 6'6" and 248 pounds, he might have a hard time winning leverage battles while setting the edge against the run. In fact, he was even smaller than that in college, playing mostly at 230 pounds before adding weight prior to the scouting combine. 

Interestingly, this is similar to their problem with 2010 first-round pick Jared Odrick. He has the skill set for a 3-4 defense, and was drafted to fill that role. Now, he is a fish out of water at defensive end with the Dolphins switching to a 4-3 front. Jordan will certainly be a better pass-rusher than Odrick off the edge, but Jordan's problem is against the run.

Perhaps giving up that presence against the run is a measured sacrifice. If the goal is to beat the New England Patriots and take over the AFC East, they'll need to get pressure on Tom Brady

One thing was clear: They needed to improve their pass defense after ranking right around the middle of the pack across the board and giving up a lot of big plays—60 passes of 20 yards or more against them ranked 29th in the NFL. They could have used a corner to help them in that regard, but after adding cornerback Brent Grimes in free agency, a defensive end was the bigger need on defense.

Jordan has drawn comparisons to legendary Dolphins defensive end-outside linebacker Jason Taylor, and if Jordan follows anything close to that career arc (139.5 career sacks), he'll be a smashing success in Miami.


Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.comFollow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise noted, all stats obtained from Pro-Football-Reference.com, and all quotes obtained firsthand or via team press releases.