September 8, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Dion Jordan (96) defends Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
For the next installment of my ‘Freak Show’ series naming the top 5 freaky athletes of the 2013 NFL drafts, we stick to the pac-12 and move on up to Oregon.
Dion Jordan: OLB, Oregon.
Pre-snap, Dion Jordan looks very out of place on a football field. When you see him, you may think an Oregon basketball player may have wandered onto the field. He is especially baffling when you see him trot out there on defense, at the linebacker position no less.
Then the ball is snapped, he rushes the passer, and you accept the idea that this isn’t a mistake. His athleticism and burst into the backfield is extremely impressive. He is very slender and won’t overpower o-lineman, but the movement is there, as well as the length. He is the definition of a lanky athlete. His limbs stretch on for days and make his height look even bigger than it is.
Then you see him move out into the slot against a wide receiver 6″ shorter than him.. and he blankets him. How can someone almost 6’7″ and 240 lbs play at the linebacker position and cover receivers with ease? Oregon uses him in coverage more than they send him after the QB, and for good reason. He is shockingly fluid for a guy as lanky as he is, and his size makes smaller receivers just disappear behind him.
Jordan’s biggest weakness is his lack of a defined NFL position. if he puts on weight, he likely loses coverage ability. If he stays at his current weight, he can’t rush the passer. I think he will be taken to fill a new role: Tight end blanket. The man is a defensive Jimmie Graham and could help a defense neutralize this new wave of fancy receiving tight ends.
Again, his position is a big question mark heading into the off-season as something has to give, be it coverage or pass rushing. He will most likely be asked to bulk up and develop his pass rushing skills. If a team is willing to be a little unconventional with developing him, he could be a very interesting defensive weapon.