The Miami Dolphins simply cannot catch a break after losing their star center to hip surgery and one of their top offseason pickups to arthroscopic knee surgery. Miami has now also lost 2013 third overall pick Dion Jordan to a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance. James Walker of ESPN has been informed that Jordan has no plans of appealing the suspension and will simply accept his punishment and focus on the remaining 12 games of the 2014 season.
Jordan was thought to be a key contributor for the Miami defense in 2014 after putting together a decent, yet disappointing 2013 rookie campaign on the surface, in which Jordan appeared in all 16 games collecting 26 tackles, two sacks and two passes defensed. Jordan saw time at defensive end and outside linebacker during a few instances, showing off his athleticism.
Once news broke that Jordan had not been fully healthy during the course of the 2013 season and the team had contemplated placing the pass rusher on the injured reserve for the entirety of the season, Jordan’s rookie campaign did not appear to be as disappointing as it had.
Jordan has been labeled a bust ever since his rookie season had ended, but I strongly disagree with labeling a player who is entering his second season in the league a bust. Jordan has yet to start a game and had no business cracking the starting lineup in 2013 due to a breakout season by fellow defensive end Olivier Vernon, who notched 11.5 sacks in 2013. Vernon flashed the athleticism that DC Kevin Coyle was looking for last season and the team decided to roll the dice with the more experienced and polished Vernon, rather than risk furthering their top draft selection’s injuries.
Jordan’s suspension does hurt the team a bit, as Jordan was in line to be a key role player this season for Miami, especially on passing downs. Coyle had a full offseason to work with Jordan and to craft different ways to use Jordan’s unique athleticism to get after opposing quarterbacks. Coyle still has the ability to do so, but will only have 12 games to unleash his prized pass rusher instead of 16.
Miami is not — I repeat, is not — hurting from this suspension, though. The team has one of the deeper defensive line rotations in the NFL and will be able to fill the void left by Jordan’s absence. DE Cameron Wake will be fully healthy in 2014 after missing time in 2013 due to a sprained MCL suffered early in the 2013 season. Vernon and DE Derrick Shelby will both have another full season under their belt. And the defensive tackle pool is looking deeper than ever with talent from veterans Earl Mitchell, Randy Starks, Jared Odrick — who also has experience at defensive end if need be — and rookie Anthony Johnson, who could end up making Miami’s 53-man roster.
Jordan’s suspension takes away a key role player for the Miami defense for the team’s first four games of the 2014 season, but the suspension is not as big a blow as the media has made it out to be.
Jordan’s name has been thrown around in trade rumors constantly and will likely continue to do so. However, the former third overall pick will not be traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, nor anywhere else. He is in Miami and will stay.
There have also been members of the media who are speaking out against Jordan and claiming that the team should cut their losses and release him. Releasing a player of Jordan’s talents would be insane and pathetic at this point, not to mention quite pointless. Jordan has yet to make a true impact for Miami due to injuries during his rookie season and now a four-game suspension during his second professional campaign.
Miami knew that Jordan was going to be a project when the team selected him in 2013, but the reward due to his versatility and upside certainly outweighed the risk.
Jordan will be in Miami at least until his contract runs out. Do not expect the team to part ways with their prized pick in the 2013 draft. Those reports are pathetic.