Dolphins Trade Up To Select Jordan

Posted Apr 25, 2013

Oregon’s athletic pass rusher will be a bookend to Wake.

After filling multiple needs on offense through free agency, the Miami Dolphins made a splash on the defensive side of the ball by trading up to grab Oregon defensive end/outside linebacker Dion Jordan with the third overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.

General Manager Jeff Ireland thought enough of the athletic Jordan to give up the first of his two second-round picks (42nd overall) and swap first-round selections with the Oakland Raiders make it happen. At 6-foot-6 and 248 pounds, Jordan resembles a young Jason Taylor in build and appears to have recovered well from the shoulder injury he suffered in Oregon’s 35-17 win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.

“I was sitting there after the pick and I was telling Steve (Ross) that this is a player that we actually sat in our draft room in December of 2011 and started watching because he was a third-year sophomore and we thought he might come out and he didn’t,” Ireland said. “He’s been on our radar for quite a while. We’ve always felt like he’s got a tremendous skill set that’s unique, so he’s been on our radar.

Jordan’s 4.60 in the 40-yard dash tied for the third fastest among defensive ends at the NFL Scouting Combine and his leap of 10 feet, 2 inches in the broad jump tied for fourth. He had the procedure done on his shoulder shortly after, missing Oregon’s Pro Day. Some see him as an outside linebacker at the next level and his 12.5 sacks over his last two seasons certainly stand out from a pass-rushing standpoint.

Before heading off to college, Jordan appeared to be on a path on offense as a tight end for Chandler High School in Arizona. He caught 54 passes for 804 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior and was penciled in as a wide receiver when he arrived at Oregon in 2008 and switched to defensive end as a redshirt sophomore in 2010 before moving outside in the 4-3 last season.

“I was really surprised because I wasn’t expecting a trade to go down, but I feel like they made the right move,” Jordan said on a conference call with the South Florida media. “This was probably the biggest surprise, but I do feel very blessed to be a Dolphin and I’m excited that they did make the move they did to come get me.”

There is so much work that goes into putting together the draft board, which Ireland explains he sets up horizontally rather than vertically, but every now and then a player is sitting there that is too enticing to pass up. That’s when Ireland sees fit to make some calls and Jordan was that player this year.

“Obviously, we jumped up there awfully quickly and took a player that we coveted quite a bit,” he said. “He was very high on our board. We think he’s an outstanding talent, has tremendous versatility, he’s a great kid. We just think the world of the player and what he’s capable of doing. He has tremendous upside.”

This was an upside that everyone inside the Dolphins’ facility agreed upon, on the personnel side and among the coaching staff. Head Coach Joe Philbin was onboard right away with the decision move up to get Jordan and is excited about what he might bring to the defense.

“If he can apply pressure to the quarterback on a consistent basis and hopefully knock the ball loose a couple of times and then us recover it, that’s a positive,” Philbin said. “I think you are all well aware of the lack of production that we had in terms of taking the ball away from offensive teams last year. Again, it’s not certainly going to just be his focus because it’s the whole defensive unit that has to improve in that regard.”

Jordan confirmed that his shoulder surgery took place on February 28th, so he has been rehabbing and is hoping not too much if any practice time. Ireland is not ready to put a timeline on Jordan’s availability but described the injury as “not a major thing.”

Even though his sack numbers dropped from 7.5 in 2011 to five last season, Jordan remains very confident in his pass rushing abilities and forcing turnovers. He considers himself a defensive playmaker.

“That’s probably one of my strong suits, getting after the quarterback,” said Jordan, who started 25 of 45 games for the Ducks and recorded 121 tackles (48 solo), 14.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss. “But I have to do the little things man. You know, stepping into a new scene and a whole new atmosphere, I’m going to have to make sure I pay attention to details. I’m just improving in all areas of my game so I can be ready to go when the season comes around.”

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