Dion Jordan plays again, revisiting the Dolphins 2013 offseason
By Ryan Davis
Dion Jordan is back. He played well for the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night with a sack and three quarterback hits against the Arizona Cardinals. He played for the first time since 2014. As a Dolphin he missed the previous two seasons from either being suspended or injured.
Thursday night, Dion Jordan displayed his talent and showed why the Dolphins drafted him 3rd overall in the 2013 draft. He was a disruptive force on the Seahawks defensive line. However, Jordan is still the biggest draft bust in Miami Dolphins history. The Dolphins 2013 offseason with the drafting of Jordan and other moves showed great promise, but turned into a nightmare.
In 2013, General Manager Jeff Ireland had stock piled draft picks and salary cap space to build the Dolphins into a contender for a decade. Unfortunately, most of his decisions were wrong. The Dolphins had one 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks, two 3rd round picks, and two 4th round picks with 10 picks overall in 2013.
Ireland traded the overall 12th round pick and one of their second-round picks, 42nd overall, for the 3rd overall pick in the draft. The Dolphins picked Dion Jordan. He was supposed to be the heir apparent to Cameron Wake, but failed multiple drug tests and didn’t get on the field.
The Dolphins under Ireland’s leadership did not do their homework and missed his off the field issues. Plus, they drafted a player who should have played outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, not a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.
If the Dolphins held the two picks they could have drafted some outstanding players. The Dolphins with the 12th pick could have selected DT Sheldon Richardson, S Eric Reid, G Kyle Long, TE Tyler Eifert, CB Desmond Trufant, CB Xavier Rhodes, or WR DeAndre Hopkins. With the 42nd pick, the Dolphins could have picked DT Kawann Short, LB Kiko Alonso, RB Le’Veon Bell, or LB Jamie Collins.
Then the Dolphins with the 54th overall pick selected CB Jamar Taylor. He was plagued by injuries and started only 9 games in three years for the team. The Dolphins traded him to the Cleveland Browns where he has started 22 games the last 2 years. They could have selected RB Eddie Lacy, TE Travis Kelce, or CB Tyrann Mathieu.
Ireland in the third round picked Dallas Thomas and Will Davis. Thomas was horrendous in his 26 starts at guard. Coach Adam Gase cuts Thomas after the loss to the Tennessee Titans last season. Cornerback Davis never started for the Dolphins and was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in September 2015. The Dolphins had to trade for Byron Maxwell to play cornerback because of the busted picks of Taylor and Davis.
The best selections for the Dolphins occurred in the fourth-round with the selections of Jelani Jenkins and Dion Sims. Sims started 22 games and caught 8 touchdowns over 4 seasons for the Dolphins. Sims signed with the Chicago Bears last offseason for 3 years. Jenkins started 34 games and had 164 tackles over 4 seasons, but his durability came into question.
The three other draft picks of the Dolphins were RB Mike Gillislee, K Caleb Sturgis, and S Don Jones. Five years later, all nine players drafted in 2013 are no longer with the Dolphins.
The Dolphins wanted to sign some weapons for 2nd year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. As a result, Ireland signed wide receiver Mike Wallace for 5 years $60 million and wide receiver Brandon Gibson for 3 years $9.78 million. Wallace never established chemistry with Tannehill and did not live up to the contract. The Dolphins traded him to the Minnesota Vikings two years later. Gibson’s best season was in 2013 with 30 receptions and 326 yards. The team releases him in 2015.
The Dolphins wanted to improve their linebackers and released Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett in 2013. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe signed a contract of 5 years for $35 million. Another linebacker, Philip Wheeler, got a contract for 5 years $26 million. Those signings did not improve the linebacking corp, but made it worse.
Other signings seen as failures were tight end Dustin Keller for one year for $4.25 million, and tackle Tyson Clabo for one year for $3.5 million. Keller suffered a career ending injury in the preseason, and never played a regular season game for the Dolphins.
The one move that was a success was the one year deal for CB Brent Grimes. He was a Pro Bowler all 3 seasons as a Dolphin and is one of the top 50 Dolphins of all time. Otherwise, all the cap space was wasted.
The players in the 2013 draft should be the core of the Dolphins team and playing in their prime. However, not one of those players remain on the team. The free agents signings were not effective and only Grimes was on the team more than 2 years. Overall, Ireland’s 2013 offseason was disastrous and eventually led to his firing, but Dion Jordan at the age of 27 may prove that he can still be an effective player in the NFL.