NEPD Intern: Trevor Fuccio
Oregon Duck and 2013 NFL Draft prospect Dion Jordan started his football journey at Chandler High School in Arizona. In High School he played tight end and defensive end. He was a very good tight end in high school pulling in on average just less than 100 yards receiving per game.
He was on most college recruiter’s lists, until he got in a life threatening accident that almost cost him his life and his football career.
Before the accident he had scholarship offers from more than half of the teams in the former Pac-10. Two and a half months after the accident he committed to the Oregon Ducks. After committing to Oregon, he stated “I’m proud of myself for being persistent and sticking through the tough times. My injury, it was a major setback for me at the time but I went through the recovery process and took my time to be all right.” After all that he was still considered the 24th best tight end according to ESPN.
When he was recruited by Oregon he was 6’5”, and weighed 215 pounds, running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He was red-shirted in 2008 to give him more time to develop. In 2009, the Ducks had him at tight end, but Jordan rarely saw the field. He really couldn’t find his place in the team. But in 2010, Oregon moved him to defensive end.
He started to fit in, recording 33 tackles and two sacks in eleven games as a reserve. His junior year he really started to find his comfort zone recording 38 tackles and 7.5 sacks in ten games – leading his team. With his performances in 2011, he was named to the Coaches’ first team All-Pac-12.
Through the first nine games of this season, Dion has already put up some impressive numbers. He has already notched 36 tackles this year, raising his tackles per game up to four tackles per game. He also has already recorded five sacks. He should easily get over the amount of tackles he set junior year (38 tackles) by the end of the season, and beat the amount of sacks he had junior year (7.5 sacks) as well.
Dion Jordan did go down with a shoulder injury early in the Colorado game this year. He came back with a rain coat and didn’t show any sign of going back into the game. He came back last Saturday and had a decent performance in the game against USC, recording three tackles. He was playing aggressive and he played hard. He fell on it a couple times, and got back up without any hesitation. The injury didn’t seem to affect his game much and shouldn’t be a long term concern.
A big reason for his success in his junior and senior years in college was his physical development. He was 6’5” when he graduated from high school, but has shot up to 6’7” and knows how to use his height. He weighed 215 pounds when graduating, but has packed on 26 pounds of bulk. He has worked hard to get bigger and stronger, and he has done just that.
Because of these changes in stature and strength and hard work, before the season he was listed as in the award race for four major defensive awards. In an interview before the season Jordan stated, “The process, I wasn’t expecting it, but you got to be ready for just about anything. Coach Kelly came to me and told me they wanted to try me on the defensive side of the ball, and I accepted that challenge. I have become a better listener, a better learner, since I have been on the defensive side.”
Another reason why he has been having more success is that during his sophomore year, former Oregon DL Kenny Rowe helped show him the ropes. Kenny was at the top of the list for tackles by a defensive end for Oregon, and he really helped Dion become more experienced at the defensive end position. The more time Jordan spends on the defensive side of the ball, the better he gets. As you look at his stats, he is progressively getting better every season.
The things that make him so good don’t always show up on the stat sheet. His speed is amazingly hard to defend, because he can run down running backs and quarterbacks very easily. His size and strength, combined with his speed, make it very hard to keep him out of the backfield. If he isn’t the first Oregon Duck to the ball, he certainly draws blockers away from his teammates, allowing them to make a play.
All of his traits combine to make him one of the best defensive linemen in the league, and one of the best players on either side of the ball. His skills will allow him to be effective in multiple defensive schemes, so he could start in the NFL as a defensive end in a 4-3, or as an outside linebacker in a 3-4.
When someone asked if he could start in the NFL, he humbly said, “You never know.” Dion Jordan will certainly be getting drafted – the only question is how high. Many mock drafts and commentators say he will go in the early 2nd round, or late first round. However, I would be very surprised if he slips out of the first round – with a top ten selection being a distinct possibility.
He will certainly go as one of the top 7 defensive ends in the draft. A very dangerous pass rusher, he will compete for a starting job as a rookie.
Jordan clocks in at #5 on our list of defensive ends for the 2013 NFL Draft.