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Exciting Sun Life Debut For Jordan

Posted Jul 30, 2013

Rookie defensive end flashed talent that made him No. 3 overall.

When Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Dion Jordan started training camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list, patience was being breached. It only took eight days for that patience wear off.

Jordan, who became the highest defensive player ever drafted by Miami in April when he was taken with the No. 3 overall pick, came off the NFI last Tuesday and quickly progressed to the point that he stood out in last night’s intrasquad scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium. The team had eased him into contact drills and he is catching up from missing all of the OTAs and minicamp while finishing college at the University of Oregon, but the 6-foot-6, 260-pound specimen is a fast learner and proved that by registering two sacks in front of 22,876 fans.

“As a competitor I just want to be able to compete,” Jordan said. “And this is another opportunity for me to compete and make myself better and help this team.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was excited about the prospect of lining up Jordan on the opposite side of the ball from Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake. The youngster’s quickness off the ball and length set up nicely along Miami’s front four in pass rushing situations and he can draw attention to his side of the line of scrimmage.

Wake started his NFL career as an outside linebacker for the Dolphins and made the Pro Bowl in his second season back in 2010 after racking up 14 sacks, but moved to defensive end last year in Coyle’s base 4-3 alignment. Jordan also has the skill set necessary to play either position, but Coyle wants him to concentrate on the defensive line at this point while he also continues to rehab the shoulder injury that slowed him.

“He’s got a lot of position versatility,” Coyle said. “I see him much like Olivier Vernon, in the sense that there will be times where we can use him in a lot of different spots. He’s very athletic, he can cover and he can certainly rush the passer, which is his strength. We’ve just got to get him stronger, as he progresses, as that shoulder comes back around off the injury, and each and every day we’re working to do that, but he’s got a lot of position flexibility.”

For a guy that is admittedly not yet 100 percent healthy, Jordan certainly wreaked enough havoc last night, blowing past starting left tackle Jonathan Martin for one of his sacks and beating backup tackle Will Yeatman for the other. His speed clearly has not been compromised and as he grows more confident in his shoulder and being able to absorb the contact that comes at the line of scrimmage he should become even more effective.

In the meantime, Jordan is keeping himself busy by being active on special teams just like he was at Oregon when he ran down on kickoffs. It’s that competitor in him that comes out in those situations because he basically wants to be on the field at all times, so he welcomed that chance again in the scrimmage.

“I started on special teams in high school and college while also starting on defense and a lot of people don’t want to do it,” said Jordan, who was recruited as a wide receiver and tight end by Oregon. “It’s something that’s more mental than anything and it’s pretty simple. You go down there, cover the kickoff and tackle the guy with the ball but everybody doesn’t want to do it. I love to compete so whenever I step out there between the lines I’m going to make myself better in order to help this team.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin definitely has taken notice and likes what he has seen in Jordan’s willingness to play any role.

“Football is important to him. He’s a team player,” Philbin said. “You are going to have 162 snaps, roughly, in a NFL game. Every single one of them is important to us. We spend time on every single one. We prepare our players the best we possibly can for each snap. We want guys who want to bust their tail every single snap.”

Jordan’s next big opportunity to flash his talent in a live game situation will come this Sunday night in Canton, Ohio against the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game.
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins