Will Dion Jordan make the team?

Dec 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95) reacts on the sideline during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95) reacts on the sideline during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan will apply for reinstatement to the NFL on Wednesday. If he is reinstated and returns, there is a question if he will be able to make the roster.

Dion Jordan is very likely the Miami Dolphins biggest draft bust. Miami moved up nine spots in the 2013 draft to select Dion Jordan third overall. He was a highly rated prospect coming out of Oregon and had all of the physical qualities to be a great NFL defensive end. Miami expected to get a dominant pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake that would put fear in every quarterback in the league.

Instead Miami got an injured player, who has never been all that productive, and who struggles with a drug problem. In the two seasons that Jordan was actually on the field for the Dolphins, he only played in 26 games and had 46 tackles and three sacks. As a comparison, Derrick Shelby who was also a rotational defensive end for the Dolphins played in 31 games with 60 tackles, five and a half sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in that same amount of time.

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In other words, Dion Jordan has not only not been the fantastic pass rusher and starter for the Dolphins he was expected to be, he has underperformed even for a situational player. Dion Jordan’s bust status is not only tied to his drug issues, but also his poor performance when he was actually on the field. For a number three overall player Jordan should have shown the ability to be a dominant player and full time starter for the Dolphins. Instead he has been a constant headache and distraction for the Dolphins at best.

Now Jordan has another chance to invent himself. When he is reinstated he will be playing for a new front office and coach. He has a chance to show them his ability without a former bias. The only problem is that Jordan has been out of football for a year, without any contact with the team, and will have to come in and learn a new playbook and perform better than he ever has when he was fully integrated into NFL life.

Jordan has never been able to distinguish his game as a defensive end. His hasn’t been very successful getting to the quarterback, which is what he was drafted to excel at. He has struggled in setting the edge against the run game. He hasn’t had the strength or ability to get off blocks and make plays in the backfield. In fact the moments when Dion Jordan has shined the most is when he dropped in coverage and in special teams.

The most productive use of Jordan based on how he has performed the last few seasons would be to move him to linebacker. He could compete there for one of the starting positions, but would most likely fit at the strong side linebacker spot. But for Jordan to make a switch to linebacker and be productive enough to make the roster would be a long shot. Although he is very athletic, that is not all that counts when it comes to playing football. Football intelligence is key to translating your athletic abilities to the game.

Based on how Jordan has acted the past few seasons, intelligence is not his strongest suit. It’s one thing to make a mistake and be put into the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It’s a completely other thing to continually fail drug tests and face suspension after suspension. For example in 2014 he was suspended for four games for a failed test but that was reduced to two; but at the end of his two game suspension he failed another test and was suspended for four more games. Then in 2015 he was suspended for the entire season for another failed drug test. That last failed test ruined the Dolphins chance of trading him to the Eagles and actually getting some value out of him.

If you are hoping for Dion Jordan to return and become the player the Dolphins drafted him to be then don’t hold your breath. All signs point to this being another disappointing season for Jordan, and that’s even if he makes the roster. In reality, after being out of the league for a year, don’t expect him to get beyond final cuts. It may be time to settle with the fact that he is one of the biggest draft busts ever for the Dolphins. Although I hope he can prove me wrong.