It’s never easy being a Top 5 draft pick, especially when a team trades up nine spots to get you like the Miami Dolphins did with Dion Jordan. Expectations are sky high to produce immediately and there’s little room for error, even as a rookie.
Now in South Beach, Jordan will immediately plug into the Dolphins’ 4-3 defense as the right end. The rookie is expected to fill the role that Jason Taylor once filled as Miami’s premier pass rusher, which is a lot of pressure put on the shoulders of a polarizing prospect such as Jordan.
While it’s a bit baffling to understand why the Dolphins would spend so much to get Jordan considering his college production (121 tackles, 14.5 sacks, four forced fumbles), the athleticism and versatility definitely make him a worthwhile gamble.
Throughout his college career, Jordan spent time at defensive end, outside linebacker and cornerback. Yes, that’s right, cornerback. Not only did he cover tight ends, but he also saw his fair share of matchups with slot receivers. Still, he had the speed, athleticism and instincts to be effective and land himself the No. 3 overall pick this past April.
Once Dolphins training camp begins, Jordan will have a firm grasp on the starting right defensive end gig. Don’t think that Miami won’t experiment with moving him all around the defense, though. On a week to week basis, the Dolphins will look to create matchups by putting him on different sides of the defense, dropping him into coverage or letting him blitz from an outside linebacker position.
With a handful of new talent and the duo of Jordan and Cameron Wake rushing the edges, the Dolphins should field a significantly improved defense this upcoming season. The key to training camp will be making sure that all the new bodies gel, giving Jordan a welcoming environment to develop in.
Barring injury, Jordan will get 16 starting opportunities this season to prove that he can be the dynamic difference-maker the Dolphins traded up to get. Whether or not he lives up to that hype, however, will depend on his performance as well as how Miami uses him.
All the tools are there for Jordan to be elite, so we’ll see how it plays out.