Ten months ago, when Chip Kelly was preparing for his first-ever draft as an NFL head coach, speculation naturally had Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles selecting Oregon pass-rushing stud Dion Jordan with the No. 4 overall pick. After all, Kelly and Jordan had a history together in Eugene.
Alas, that didn't transpire because the Miami Dolphins traded up nine spots in order to leapfrog Philadelphia and take Jordan with the third overall selection.
It's widely believed that Jordan would have been Philly's pick had he been on the board, but instead Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman wound up with Lane Johnson.
I think they're happy with Johnson, who excelled as his rookie season wore on at right tackle. But that doesn't mean they've given up on Jordan, who just might be available for trade now that the Dolphins have shaken up their front office.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported on Friday that, only one year removed from that draft, the Dolphins are gauging trade value for the 23-year-old.
MIA has been gauging trade value for '13 1st round pick Dion Jordan, league sources said, after trading up to 3rd overall for him last year— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 28, 2014
But the Philly-related trade speculation actually started back in January, when Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald connected several intriguing dots.
I'm told 1 thing Tom Gamble would've recommended if he interviewed for Dolphins GM was switch back to 3-4. Thinks Dion Jordan 3-4 stud.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 15, 2014
To piggyback on previous Dion Jordan/Gamble tweet, Eagles have No. 22 in 1st rd. Wouldn't surprise me if they try to trade that for Jordan.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 15, 2014
Jordan played for Chip Kelly and Gamble loves him. Jordan in Miami was Jeff Ireland's pick not new GM's.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 15, 2014
The Tom Gamble to whom Salguero is referring is the Eagles' vice president of player personnel, who interviewed for the previously vacant GM job in Miami before staying in Philadelphia.
And if indeed former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland was Jordan's primary supporter, it's not crazy to imagine new GM Dennis Hickey and his cohorts doing something similar to what the Browns did with Trent Richardson in the fall.
It's no secret that the Eagles need pass rush help. Trent Cole's prime is behind him now that he's on the wrong side of 30 and Philly's defense had the league's lowest sack rate in 2013. Jordan suits their system, has tremendous upside and a strong relationship with Kelly and several Eagles assistants. He'd be an ideal candidate to replace Cole in a year or two.
Jordan was held to just two sacks during his rookie campaign in Miami, but he was on the field for only 339 total snaps as he worked to get acclimated as a 4-3 defensive end. Shoulder and ankle injuries might have also been a factor.
The Eagles are in pretty good shape in almost every spot except safety and linebacker, so dealing the No. 22 overall pick for a guy like Jordan would seem like a no-brainer. If that's all the Dolphins are asking for, I'd pull the trigger. Anything beyond that and it becomes a hell of a lot more complicated.
Sure, giving up a first-round pick for a player who had just two sacks and wasn't trusted in run defense as a rookie is risky, but sometimes you just have to trust your instincts and swing the bat in these situations. Besides, anyone you pick 22nd overall is going to have inevitable bust potential anyway. Who's to say a guy like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has any better a chance at succeeding than Jordan?
If the opportunity is there, the Eagles would be silly not to give it a shot.