Jordan: When The Lights Come On I Turn It On

Posted Apr 30, 2013

Miami’s first-round draft pick wants to make an immediate impact.

First-round draft picks understand the expectations that are placed on them, but for Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Dion Jordan his situation is a little more complex. Miami traded up eight spots to get him with the third overall pick.

By sending the first of their two second-round selections to the Oakland Raiders to complete the deal, the Dolphins made it abundantly clear how highly they thought of Jordan. In fact, he had been on General Manager Jeff Ireland’s radar going back to 2011 when he was a redshirt sophomore at the University of Oregon.

Now that the 6-foot-6, 248-pound Jordan has experienced the honor of standing on the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City next to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, he can get to the business of playing football again. His confidence in his abilities mirrors that of Ireland, which is why he welcomes the prospect of lining up opposite Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake on the defensive line.

“I’ve watched him for a while and I’ve seen the way he bends and the way he finishes at quarterbacks,” said Jordan during his first in-person press conference Saturday with the South Florida media. “That’s something that I’m looking forward to improving in my game, and you know they brought me in here to do that and take care of the role on the other side.”

Jordan comes from an athletic family and his younger sister, Sherrelle, has the third-fastest time in the state of Arizona in the 100-meter hurdles. She runs for her older brother’s alma mater, Chandler High School, and he calls her “the beast of the family.” Jordan also ran track in high school and was recruited to Oregon as a tight end before Chip Kelly, now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, switched him to the defensive side of the ball.

Kelly actually admitted he was thinking about taking his former player with the fourth overall pick on Thursday before Miami made the trade. Beyond Jordan’s physical traits, it was his work ethic and demeanor that also stood out to Ireland and of course his college coach and he prides himself on bringing both with him to Miami.

“I do feel like I have a high motor,” Jordan said. “I work really hard, not just when it’s game time but everyday leading up. So when the lights come on and when it’s game time I turn it on, and like I said I am looking forward to improving in that area and being a great compliment to (Wake) on the other side.”

Special teams was something Jordan didn’t shy away from either at Oregon, as he willingly ran down the field on kickoffs and was the first one to meet the returner. He actually enjoyed that aspect of the game and wouldn’t mind doing it at the next level.

That type of approach to the game is music to the ears of any head coach, and Philbin cracked a smile when he was reminded about Jordan’s special teams acumen. It certainly fits his criteria.

“He likes football,” Philbin said. “I think one of the things that we heard resoundingly through the evaluation process is this kid was a football player. He liked to play the game and he is passionate about it. He is willing to make a contribution any way he could.”

Just like Wake leaned on veteran Jason Taylor his first year with the Dolphins back in 2009, Jordan intends to watch Wake closely during practices and seek advice from him in the meeting rooms. He plans on being a sponge and learning as much as he can as quickly as he can, which is something he has focused on all along by watching film of the great pass rushers going back to Lawrence Taylor.

So much attention was paid to Jordan’s pass rushing skills at Oregon that his run defense didn’t get as much credit. Scouts tend to look at his lanky frame and make the assumption that he can’t hold up against big offensive tackles, but he didn’t shy away from that role either.

“I feel like I am very good at the run. I did well at the University of Oregon,” said Jordan, who had 29 tackles for loss over his career. “I took care of that part, but I guess because of my size, because I’m not 260 already, most people don’t think I can do that. That comes along with my maturity and taking care of things in the film room and at practice and just taking care of my body. I know as time goes along I’ll be able to be that player I’m looking forward to being.”

If that player eventually meets Jordan’s own expectations, then Miami’s decision to move up in the draft to pick him higher than any defensive player in franchise history will have been validated.

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