The Miami Dolphins Bargaining Chip: Dion Jordan
By Josh Binder
Dion Jordan came out of Oregon in the 2013 NFL Draft as a versatile athlete who could rush the passer and drop back into coverage with ease. He was coveted by ex-Oregon HC Chip Kelly and regarded by some as the ultimate new-school defender. Unfortunately for Fins fans, Jordan has been nothing short of a disappointment thus far into his young career.
When previous Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland and his staff drafted Jordan, they expected him to make an immediate impact on 3rd down and eventually become an every-down type of player. Even former Dolphin and perennial pro bowler Jason Taylor thought Jordan would succeed at the NFL level when he said “Dion is bigger than me, more athletic than I am, and he’s going to be stronger. He’s so willing to learn.”
Sadly, the immature Jordan has had a number of drug related suspensions and failed to establish a meaningful role on the Dolphins’ defense. In Jordan’s absence, Olivier Vernon, who was picked in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, has played well and racked up 21.5 total sacks during his first three seasons. With all that in mind, it’s time to be realistic and assess what the Dolphins should do with the former #3 overall pick, Dion Jordan. There are two potential outcomes for the Oregon product in the 2015 NFL season: (1) Jordan stays a Dolphin, or (2) Jordan is traded for a draft pick(s).
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Staying a Dolphin:
If Dion Jordan wants a fighting chance to keep his #95 Fins jersey, the first thing he needs to do is show up. As simple as this might sound, Jordan is reportedly having trouble showing up to voluntary off-season workouts, which started on April 20th. From a personal perspective, Jordan needs to show that he cares about his NFL future and wants to be part of the Miami Dolphins organization. At this point, I consider him a liability in the Dolphins locker room and dead weight on the roster.
However, if Mr. Jordan is able to get his life together and start taking his career seriously, he could become an impact player on the Dolphins defense. This year, if Jordan stays on the Fins 53-man roster, he is expected to transition to the linebacker position. With current standouts like Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon owning the defensive end spots, Jordan has a chance to become an elite coverage linebacker and an asset that can provide extra pass rush when needed.
So, if Mr. Jordan is going to prove Jason Taylor right, he is going to have to show up to voluntary workouts, prove worthy of a roster spot, and keep clean off the field. Regardless, if I’m Dennis Hickey, I’m exploring all trade options on draft day.
Trading away Dion for a Draft Pick(s):
At a news conference Friday (April 24th), EVP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum and GM Dennis Hickey sidestepped multiple questions about their confidence in Jordan. While this media tactic is expected, as teams never divulge sensitive information leading up to the draft, it does shed some light on the possibility of trading the former #3 overall pick. If Tannenbam and Hickey were confident Jordan would have a spot on the Fins roster in 2015, they would have said so. Therefore, you can bet your bottom dollar they are talking to teams and assessing his value for draft day.
While trading away Jordan would be a tough pill to swallow, if the Dolphins can find the right team offering the right deal, they should take it. By doing so, the Dolphins could either get an additional pick or use him in a package deal to move up a few slots in the first two rounds.
As a firm believer in getting the most value possible for a player on your roster, I would have no problem trading away the headache Dion Jordan has become. His natural athletic ability is obvious, but I don’t believe he can put it all together in a Dolphins uniform. Let me know your thoughts by commenting below and I’ll see you back here on draft day. Fins up!