Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon) vs Fresno State

What to make of this guy? He’s 6-7, weighs 241lbs and is one of the best athletes in college football. When Daniel Jeremiah asked 20 NFL insiders who will be the best defensive player in the league in five years time, one answered with Jordan.

Cue the hype.

Jordan was on a lot of people’s radar before that article, but it certainly brought about some national publicity. The league is becoming a place where bigger, faster and stronger succeeds. There’s unlikely to be anybody bigger, faster or stronger on defense than Dion Jordan in the 2013 draft.

Yet despite all the great freak-of-nature qualities, he’s not a brilliant pass rusher. Jason Pierre-Paul was raw at USF but he displayed some natural pass-rushing ability. He was consistently threatening off the edge, he showed better technique than you’d expect for a JUCO transfer. It’s easy to say after the event, but a lot of people were high on JPP. What’s more, he wasn’t just a tall athlete – he had a prototype physique for an elite pass rusher. He’s added weight since joining the pro’s, but only his background and lack of experience prevented him from being a top-1o shoe-in.

Jordan lacks a lot of that natural pass-rushing ability. It’s not really a surprise – he was a wide receiver in high school. His Scout.com profile listed hands and concentration, size and red-zone ability as positives during recruitment. With teams looking for athletic, big tight ends it wouldn’t surprise me if a few consider moving him to that position. Here’s a few quotes before he committed to Oregon in 2008: “I have a good combination of size and speed. I am great at creating mismatches on linebackers and can run down the field and make things happen. I’m pretty exciting on the field.” His HS Head Coach at Chandler, Jim Ewan, chips in: “The upside to Dion is that he could play three spots, TE, WR or DE.  He takes pride in doing all three. I think that he will end up a big WR, who can move into TE when needed.”

It wouldn’t be the craziest story if he returned to offense. After all, he’s going to face many challenges as a 6-7 pass rusher.

The first issue is leverage. Tackles are going to have a pretty big target to punch in the chest. Is he ever going to be able to effectively bull rush or dominate a tackle with his hands at 6-7? I’m a big sceptic there. The best way to combat this is to be so much better yourself when it comes to upper body strength or as an elite speed-rusher. Jordan is neither – a great athlete for a guy his size, but not one of the great edge rushers in college football. In fact it’s bizarre to see a defensive end taking the coverage duties he gets at Oregon. At one point in the tape above he was practically lined up at corner back. Great pass rushers don’t tend to go that far away from the defensive line.

We’re two games into the season and Jordan – in his senior year – still has a chance to ramp it up and become a more polished overall player. Even if that doesn’t happen, it’s hard to rule him out as a high pick. Teams love physical potential and Jordan is one of the best. Defensive ends are among the most athletic players on a roster these days – it’s one of the main reasons why offensive line play is down across the league. How can a big, cumbersome tackle or guard expect to match-up against a guy like Pierre-Paul? The best athletes in college football are playing defense these days and not offensive tackle. It’s creating a problem for NFL scouts when they look for O-lineman, and it’s forcing teams to look for the next great athletic defensive end.

Jordan could be that guy. Or maybe he goes back to his roots and ends up at tight end? Either way he’s an interesting guy. And rest assured he’ll be talked about a lot between now and April.


  1. Jmpasq

    Jordan is a very intriguing player and for someone that gushes over long athletic DE’s its obvious why Im drawn to cutting videos of him. I see serious potential and athletic ability but what do u do with him. Odds are an NFL team isnt going to stick a 6’7 255 pound DE out as a Boundary corner or have him run with WR’s from the slot. Yeah its freakish. If u like to Zone Blitz having a DE that can drop that deep and run some is nice but odds are u are drafting him to come after the QB not drop into coverage. He has the frame to be an absolute monster but it will take long hours in the weight room to fill him out to the upper body strength he will need to be successful. Still as unrefined as he is I cant help to think that 1 team at least wont be thinking they can mold him into a stud pass rusher.

    • Rob Staton

      Great job as usual John. Everyone who is part of this blog is extremely grateful for the work you put in.

  2. David

    Good job guys, great stuff! I’m a big fan of Dion’s and I’d love to see him end up a Seahawk. I think he’s got great potential and I’m constantly surprised by how good he is at reading play action and reaction to draw/pistol type runs. Good instincts, imo. As you point out Rob, his pass rush skills aren’t quite there yet but I think with the proper coaching he’ll be a quality player in this league. Not sure if it will be in Seattle considering they already drafted a “project” type DE this season in the 1st in Irvin. Either way, I think Jordan’s got a shot to be a good one. Physically, he reminds me of Mathias Kiwanuka when he was at BC. Thanks for the writeup!

  3. peter

    Jmpasq, indeed the videos are absolutely incredible.

    After reading your write-up Rob and Jmpasq’s response, I could honestly see the Seahawks taking a guy like that, getting ridiculed in the national media for a wasted pick, and being totally fine developing him into a dominating hybrid DE. It’s like the James Carpenter pick….let’s say he never gets hurt (seriously) again and bolsters the left side so intently that Okung can get back to just tracking the fastest/strongest/whatever DE’s on the opposing team and Carp can man the middle. I’m spitballing here but then we could have a truly effective line and the memory of wasted first round pick for Carp would soon be forgotten.

    For all the love JS/PC get “the mid round success” not much is brought up about part of the game is building depth. Sure I want to see Irvin get the rookie sack record, who wouldn’t, but if he turns a corner by the end of the year, learns additional responsibilities such as dropping into coverage and being effective in the run game, and maybe having the speed and smarts to start covering dominant TE’s in the short passing game, as well as learning additional techniques as a rusher…then in his second season he turns it on ala JPP and gives the Seahawks the goods for several years, I don’t have any problem with this pick….

    I feel like I’m writing a middle school paper.

    In conclusion, If the seahawks take a freak of nature size wise at an awkward position and work on him to bulk it up I think that could be a good thing. The nfl evolves, and with it the players have to as well. a DE that can cover the slot, sure why not, line backers the size and speed of TE’s like KJ wright, absolutely. Enormous and slightly slow RT’s who are left handed and thus moved to LG hopefully clearing holes the size of doorways for lynch and company, of course!

  4. Mtjhoyas

    Extremely intriguing idea of moving him to TE. Honestly, if he fell to late Round 2, I’d be all for trading up from R3 to draft him with the idea of moving him to offense. We are really lacking playmakers.

    We need weapons and I think the 2013 draft should be solely focused on Offense and they need to be creative. I sincerely hope we target high end weapons at WR, TE, and even RB (thinking Eddie Lacy if he falls to R3).

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