In my haste to put up a post yesterday regarding the Dion Jordan pick, I failed to give any real supporting data for why I love the acquisition. Today I plan to rectify this oversight on my part. Jordan is a freakish athlete and gives the Miami Dolphins a lot of flexibility and an added dimension; pass rushing has been sorely missed in Miami for several years. Not only does Jordan improve the front line of our defense, but his ability to rush the passer will take some of the pressure off of our existing corners. Finally, Jordan has elite speed and length and as an outside linebacker at Oregon was asked to cover tight ends and slot receivers, and he did it well. This added aspect to Jordan helps our defense out even further, as Miami will face many of the elite tight ends this season. Let's take a look at what makes Jordan so special, from a numbers standpoint.
Let's start with Dion Jordan's size. Jordan is measured at 6'6 1/2". More than that though, his wingspan is an incredible 81.5 inches. That's more than three inches longer than a normal person of his height, which is already monstrous. This added length will give Jordan an incredible radius with which to deflect passes in his area, and will give him a massive advantage if and when he is asked to cover a smaller slot receiver. Furthermore, his hands measure an incredible 10" long. With hands this large, not only should he be able to be an effective coverage linebacker, but he should have the hand size and strength to be able to fight off the blocks when he is asked to line up at the defensive end position as a pass rusher.
Now let's move on to Jordan's speed and agility. Jordan ran the 40-yard dash in March's Combine at a blistering 4.6 seconds. This number was tied for third fastest at his listed position, defensive end, bested only by a little known prospect from UConn and by Barkevious Mingo from LSU. More than that though, it was also faster than any tight end likely to be drafted this year. In a test administered by ESPN's Sports Science, Jordan was able to run from one "heavy bag" to another, with one agility move in between, faster than anyone they tested other than Ziggy Ansah, and Ansah only beat him by 0.12 seconds. To further illustrate just how agile Jordan is, he was measured to have a rotational spin of 616°, which is the fastest the lab tested this season and approximately 25% faster than the spin of Dwight Freeny, who is widely considered to have the best spin move of any defensive player. Jordan also put up the fastest time of any defensive end in their test for rushing the passer and 10-yard acceleration, performing as well or better than any wide receiver they tested in this particular test. From a pure talent standpoint, Jordan is the best defensive end prospect since DeMarcus Ware, and if he lives up to his potential, will be the best pass rusher Miami has had since Jason Taylor.
The decision to draft Jordan looks even better when you consider the small price tag it took to acquire him and just how badly our division rivals did in their drafts yesterday. The Dolphins were able to acquire the third overall pick from the Oakland Raiders for only our first round pick (the #12 overall) and the first of our two second round picks. Just going by the value chart of the draft, Miami was able to steal this pick away from Oakland for more than 600 points below it's assessed value. The Bills made an extremely questionable decision to draft E.J. Manuel with their first round pick, which was gained by trading back and getting extra picks. While the decision to trade back was a good move for Buffalo, they immediately negated any good they did by drafting Manuel, a quarterback who many people had as the sixth rated quarterback in this draft. If Manuel was indeed who the Bills targeted as the guy they had to have, they could have easily waited until their pick in the second round, if not even the third. To draft this guy in the first round is a terrible mistake by the Bills. The Bills weren't the only ones in our division to make a questionable choice though.
The New York Jets made a poor choice of their own. They had two picks in the first 13, due to the recent trade of Darrelle Revis. With the first pick, they chose Dee Milliner, the corner from Alabama. While most "experts" had Milliner as the top ranked corner in the draft, there are several questions about him, most notable being his health (it was revealed that he had five surgeries while at Alabama and will not be available until training camp due to a recent shoulder surgery), and his hands. While working out at the Combine, Milliner exhibited a terrible ability to catch the ball. The entire time I watched Milliner perform his drills I had the thought "Man, his hands look worse than my legs!". This is not the kind of performance you want from a guy you draft to replace the best corner in the league. Then, with their second pick in the first round, the Jets inexplicably decided to take a defensive tackle, Sheldon Richardson from Missouri. Not only was Richardson not a position of need for the Jets, he was not even the best player at his position still on the board. Star Lotulelei was still available at this point, as was many people's #3 prospect Sharrif Floyd. This pick isn't bad because of the defensive tackles still available, however. It's a terrible pick because of the offensive players that were still available. The offense is a much more pressing need for the Jets, and many great players were still on the board. Geno Smith, Tyler Eifert, Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, and Robert Woods were all still available at much more pressing needs than defensive tackle. Three of those five; however, are still undrafted, so the Jets do have an opportunity to rectify their mistakes.
When you really sit back and analyze the move for Dion Jordan, it looks like the Dolphins have moved into a position to seriously challenge the New England Patriots for supremacy not only in the AFC East, but in the AFC as a whole. I can't wait to see what the next two days hold for the rest of our draft.
Welcome! My name is Chris Spooner. I am an overly-passionate Dolphins fan who has many opinions about his team, and the sports landscape as a whole. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy voicing them.