The 2013 offseason just keeps getting better for the Miami Dolphins. After a free agency period that saw Miami spend big money to real in several marquee free agents, many expected to see Jeff Ireland return to his conservative ways and select an offensive lineman in tonight’s first round.
But boy were we all in for a huge surprise.
Of all the scenarios discussed in the days leading up to the draft, nobody ever envisioned Ireland trading into the top three and selecting arguably the best defensive player in the draft. And I don’t think anyone could have fathomed he would do so by only giving up the Dolphins’ 42nd overall selection to swap pick #12 for #3.
A true steal. A steal that may go down as Ireland’s most outstanding move as GM if Jordan turns out to be the elite game changer the Dolphins believe he is. If he does, Kevin Coyle’s defense just may have one of the league’s top pass rushing tandems.
Dion Jordan and Cameron Wake could become a nightmare for opposing offenses. The Dolphins needed a pass rusher to take some pressure off Wake and the consistent double teams he receives. Jordan could be that player.
The Dolphins ranked 27th against the pass last year. Many just assumed solving that problem would consist of upgrading the cornerback position. And it did to an extent with the signing of Brent Grimes and it may still later on in the draft.
But I think improving the pass rush first and foremost was the right play by Ireland. And I say that because generating pass rush is the blueprint to beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The New York Giants taught us that. Twice, in fact. Both instances in the Super Bowl using a suffocating pass rush that proved Tom Brady and Bill Bilichick are indeed human.
Those Giants teams didn’t have great cornerbacks. Solid starters, maybe. But not great. They proved generating consistent pressure was the key to masking deficiencies in the secondary and neutralizing an elite passing attack. The Dolphins may finally have the ability to do just that in 2013 and Dion Jordan is a big reason why.
But don’t limit Jordan. He is far from your typical defensive end. “We have a great vision for him,” Ireland said in regards to Jordan. “Part of that is going to be rushing the passer, and part of that is going to be up to (Philbin).” When asked if Jordan will be a linebacker in Miami, Ireland responded “Could be….”
Jordan played the majority of his snaps standing up as an outside linebacker for the Ducks. He is fantastic in space and has the athleticism to cover as well. The Dolphins could have quite a unique role planned for him, potentially splitting time between outside linebacker and defensive end.
The Dolphins’ already solid front seven just got considerably more versatile, athletic, and fast. Should be fun to watch.
If you were unfamiliar with Jordan heading into this draft, I’ve put together a little scouting report below. Because let’s be honest, none of us expected him to become a Dolphin.
Dion Jordan scouting report
Arm length: 33 7/8”
Strengths: Excellent length. Uses his long arms well. Covers ground quickly. Successfully covered tight ends and slot receivers at Oregon. Has outstanding quickness and bend to tight rope around the corner rushing. Also has solid counter moves, including inside rush and spin move. Overall, fantastic athleticism and quickness.
Weaknesses: Needs to get stronger. Must improve upper-body strength to help shed blocks. Might be a liability against the run on early downs at defensive end.
Quote of the night: “This young man, I think he’s got the potential to be the player that I compare him to, which is Jason Taylor, who ironically played for the Miami Dolphins. I also think he looks like an Aldon Smith, and if he puts on 20 pounds on that 6-foot-7 frame, one day he might be as good as a DeMarcus Ware.” — Mike Mayock