For what will likely be my penultimate film study of this draft season, I want to take a look at a young man who is probably the single most intriguing prospects in this years draft, and probably the past several: Dion Jordan from Oregon.
Normally in the titles of these I list the player's position along with their school. In Jordan's case however, that is one of the big questions that GM's need to answer: What IS Dion Jordan!?
For most of the draft process, including the combine workout, Jordan has been listed as a defensive end. However at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds he hardly has body of an NFL defensive lineman. At Oregon he played a number of positions, from down defensive end to stand-up edge rusher and coverage linebacker. Later on when I get to the tape, I will omit my usual explanation of what I'm looking for, simply because he can have completely different duties from one snap to the next. But first, on to the numbers.
Weight: 245 pounds
Arm Length: 33 7/8 inches
40 time: 4.60
3-Cone Drill: 7.02
Short Shuttle: 4.35
Vertical Jump: 32.5 inches
Broad Jump: 122 inches
Bench Press: N/A (shoulder injury and underwent surgery shortly after the combine)
Tackles - 44
TFL's - 10.5
Sacks - 5.0
PD's - 1
FF's - 3
So, as you can see, he's a very freakish athlete with a unique body. His box score is lacking, however he did so many different things its tough to rack up stats.
Now for the tape.
Like I said above, I'm not going to try to explain what I look for pre and post snap, since Jordan does so many different things. Instead, please refer to previous Film Studies to brush up on what to look for from a LB and DE. I'll do my best to set up each play.
I chose this tape because Stanford runs a (largely) pro-style offense, to give an idea of what he could look like faced with NFL offenses.
Dion Jordan vs Stanford (2012) (via Adrian Ahufinger)
0:00-0:07) Jordan is on the left at outside linebacker with three down linemen. Oregon rushes both OLB's plus an A-gap blitz. Jordan is initially blocked and gets knocked down while working back to the middle to help on the play
0:08-0:22) Jordan is at 5-tech (defensive end in the 3-4), and Oregon rushes the outside linebacker on the other side. Jordan is picked up by the RT and the QB is tackled while Jordan is trying to work past the right tackle.
0:23-0:31) 3 down linemen, Oregon is showing heavy blitz with Jordan standing up on the edge. Jordan rushes off the edge but is pushed out of the play by the TE.
0:32-0:36) 3 down linemen, Jordan is standing up at the line. Jordan rushes off the edge, goes under the FB and causes the RB to hesitate long enough for help to bring him down well behind the LOS. His first nice play.
0:37-0:45) Jordan at outside linebacker again with three down linemen. Fakes a rush but drops in coverage. Flows to the ball pretty nicely, but can't quite fight through the block to make the tackle. Uses his length to slow the RB down though, and help arrives to make the stop.
0:46-1:11) Oregon shows heavy blitz with everybody standing up on the LOS. Jordan is lined up wide and does a nice bullrush on the right tackle, however the RT is able to re-anchor and open up the edge for the QB to escape. Jordan does show nice hustle to get down and try to help with the stop
1:12-1:22) Jordan is lined up as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 front. Recognizes the run. The good is that he maintains his discipline and doesn't over-pursue. The bad is that he's really not a factor at all.
1:23-1:30) 4 man front, but Jordan lines up in the slot. Drops back in a very shallow zone, recognizes the bubble screen and blows it up around the LOS. Another very nice play.
1:31-1:37) Jordan lines up in at outside linebacker with a three-man front. He comes off the edge and reads the run, but gets tied up by the FB just long enough to miss the tackle.
1:38-1:51) Lined up as a stand up end in what I guess you can call a 3 man front (only one down lineman). Comes off the edge and gets handled by the left tackle and pushed right around the pocket.
1:52-2:00) Jordan is at outside linebacker in the 3-4 front. Reads the run and uses his length to play off the blocker really well to make the tackle for the loss.
2:01-2:05) Lined up the same as the previous play. Drops into coverage on the tight end, and the ball falls incomplete elsewhere. Nice, tight coverage here.
2:06-2:11) Not sure what happened here. Play starts after the snap with Jordan in the backfield tripping over everybody. Moving on...
2:12-2:21) Lined up at either a stand-up end or outside linebacker with two down linemen. Jordan gets a nice jump off the snap, but the RT is able to push him past the pocket long enough for the quarterback to get the ball away.
2:22-2:32) Once again lined up at outside linebacker in the 3-4 front. He fakes the rush but bounces off the right tackle and drops back into coverage. He does a great job getting off contact and quickly making his drop. The ball goes elsewhere, but Jordan did a nice job.
2:33-2:41) Same alignment as last play. Jordan reads the run and sets the edge again. Doesn't quite make it around the trash in time to make the tackle from behind and winds up on the ground while the running back keeps running.
2:42-2:52) Same as last play, outside linebacker in the 3-4. Recognizes the run to the other side, but gets pushed back by the TE. Gets off the block to get back to the play though.
2:53-3:00) Jordan is lined up atleft defensive end in the 4-3 front. Uses a nice swim move, but just gets bowled over at the line of scrimmage
3:01-3:08) Lined up at outside linebacker with three down linemen. Read option play, Jordan comes forward and pursues the RB. Unfortunately the QB keeps the ball and runs away. Bad play by Jordan but great fake by the quarterback.
3:09-3:16) Same as last play, same play by the offense. This time Jordan goes right after the quarterback (who hands it off to the running back for a short gain)
3:17-3:27) Jordan lines up at end, but no down linemen. quarterback keeps the ball and runs to the opposite side of the field. Jordan does do a nice job to get over to help with the stop.
3:28-3:37) Lined up at outside linebacker in the 3-4 set. Runs around the edge but the running back punches up through the gut. Great run but Jordan isn't a factor.
3:38-3:46) Lined up at outside linebacker again, but on the other side of the line. Sees the run and stays home to seal off the cut-back. Does a great job navigating the trash to make the tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Great play.
3:47-3:58) Covering the slot this time. Does a great job dropping into coverage, then recognizing the screen pass and coming down to make the stop a couple yards past the line of scrimmage. Another great play.
3:59-4:08) Everybody's standing up with Jordan on the edge. Kinda bounces around in front of the offensive line and the ball goes elsewhere. Moving on...
4:09-4:17) Outside linebacker in the 3-4 this time. Power run by Stanford. Jordan does a decent job of playing off his block and scraping across the line to help in the stop.
4:18-4:46) Lined up same as last play, and another power run. Gets blocked by the fullback and can't get off to make the tackle at the line of scrimmage, but does get off to help with the tackle by the first down marker
4:47-5:05) Same alignment as before. Jordan gets double-teamed by the pulling RG and the FB, but does a great job getting off to slow the running back down. Goes for the strip instead of the tackle... Should have wrapped up and let somebody else worry about the ball. Great play though.
5:06-5:19) Standing up on the end with two down linemen. Jordan gets blown up and pushed way back by the double team. Moving on
5:20-5:27) 3-4 outside linebacker this play. Gets stopped cold by the fullback and the running back just runs around him.
5:28-5:35) Same alignment as last play. Gets stonewalled by the tight end (might have been a jumbo tight end) and the run goes to the other side. Moving on.
5:36-5:45) 3-4 outside linebacker once again. Does a great job getting off the ball and blowing past the blocker. Over-runs the play slightly and can't quite wrap up the running back. Nice play though.
5:46-5:54) Similar alignment as the previous few plays. Looks like a roll-out by the quarterback and Jordan comes off unblocked. He goes for the quarterback, but the ball is pitched to the running back. Not much to be done there but try to snag the ball out of the air.
5:55-6:04) 3-4 outside linebacker again, but instead of rushing Jordan stays home. It pays off when he makes the stop short of the first-down marker. Nice play here.
6:05-6:13) On the opposite side of the 34 this time. Gets blocked by the left tackle and the running back goes up the middle. Moving on...
6:14-6:22) Same as before. Jumps the snap, free play, moving on again...
6:23-6:30) 3-4 outside linebacker. Stays home and waits for the run to come to him. Jordan does a nice job fighting through the double team, but the runner is already tackled from behind.
6:31-6:39) Not sure what you'd call this alignment. Standing up wide with 2 down linemen. Jordan gets off the snap well and does a nice job fighting through the blocker, but doesn't quite get there in time, and the quarterback gets the ball out.
6:40-6:47) Jordan has his hand on the ground in a five-man line. Gets off well and goes over/around his blocker, but can't get around to the flying fullback in time.
6:48-6:55) Lines up at 3-4 outside linebacker. Comes off the ball okay, but the right tackle does a nice job pushing him around the pocket while the quarterback gets the ball off.
6:56-7:05) 3-4 outside linebacker again. Jordan doesn't come off the ball hard, but sees the run and does a nice job using his length to get off the block. The run is to the other side and he isn't really a factor though.
7:06-7:16) Outside linebacker once again. Jordan just gets pushed way past the play by the double team. Nice strip/tackle by the middle linebacker, though.
7:17-7:30) Last play, and surprisingly Jordan is at 3-4 outside linebacker. The run goes to the other side and Jordan isn't a factor.
So, the big question remains. What is Dion Jordan in the NFL? Is he Aldon Smith part two, the next long, explosive, pass rushing beast?
In my humble opinion... Nope. From what I've seen Jordan simply lacks the girth, and the frame to add that girth, to be an effective pass rusher on a regular basis in the NFL. He has great length, speed, flexibility and agility, but it's too easy for a blocker to push him around. Case in point: Levine Toilolo manhandles Jordan several times, both in pass protection and run blocking, and Toilolo is hardly known as a ferocious blocker. Or even a very good one.
To my eye Jordan is at his best when he's given space to operate in. Either using his athleticism to get to a run play or in coverage. He could be an effective blitzer, but only on occasion. I think Jordan would be best used shutting down tight ends and running backs over the middle and giving the real pass rushers time to work.
I think his best position in the NFL is as a 4-3 SAM linebacker. There he doesn't have to worry about taking on blockers as often or at least big ones, and is taken off the line so he can use his gifts to their fullest. And in that role I think he fits perfectly with the Giants, providing (along with JWill) airtight, long, and supremely athletic coverage over the middle and two effective potential blitzers.