For anyone that still wants to criticize Ireland for drafting Dion Jordan #3, look at Ireland's past before you say anything. Ireland was in Dallas as a scout when they drafted Demarcus Ware. This means he was involved in many of the pre-draft meetings and discussions involving Ware. Ireland comes to Miami and works with Joey Porter and Jason Taylor. Don't remember Porter for how he left Miami; remember his production while he was in Miami. Porter had a 17.5 sack season in 2008 and went to the Pro Bowl for the Dolphins. Jason Taylor finished his NFL career with 139.5 career sacks and is likely going to the Hall of Fame. While GM for Miami, Ireland brought in Cam Wake from the CFL. Wake has only gone on to become one of the fiercest pass rushers in the NFL since signing with the Dolphins. For several years now Ireland not only has shown an ability to find elite pass rushing talent but, he has had the privilege of having some of the best in the business in his own building to observe the day-to-day work ethic it takes not only to get to the top but to stay consistent through the years.
On Thursday Jeff Ireland traded from #12 up to #3 to draft Dion Jordan. I have to have full confidence in Ireland that he knows what to look for and that Jordan is going to be a special talent. I think in this case, Ireland earns the benefit of the doubt from his critics because he has shown he knows how to find top-level pass rushers. I was a huge fan of Dion Jordan throughout the draft process even though I never thought Miami would be able to sign him because he was too talent and scheme diverse to make it to #12 in the draft. Thank you Miami for shocking the NFL world and drafting Jordan because I think he has the potential to be a 10+ sack a season pass rusher in the NFL. Jordan is possibly the best pass rusher in the draft with his combination of size and speed.
Some analyst feel Jordan is not ready to be an every down player worthy of the #3 overall selection. I vehemently disagree because whenever I watch Jordan on film, I see many attributes associated with being a top pass rusher combined with the right scheme to develop the tools needed for Jordan to become truly special. He already has the speed rush and the spin move down from college. Cam Wake will now be able to work with Jordan as he learns the power and counter-moves needed for sustained NFL success. As of yesterday Dion Jordan stated he was at 250 lbs. because he has been rehabbing his shoulder injury. I think Phillibin will have Jordan bulked up from 250 lbs. to at least 265 lbs. for the season. This added size will help as Jordan endures the rigors of a long NFL season. Remember, Miami will play at least 21 games this year not including playoffs. Also, with Jordan’s 4.60 forty-yard speed, he has the speed to cover tight ends and even some slot receivers. In Jordan’s opening interview in Miami he told reporters that Oregon has him dropping into coverage about 30-40% of the time. Watch tape on Jordan in coverage and you will see his fluidity in dropping to a zone and/or how well he uses his 6’7" frame with 40+" wingspan to blanket wide receivers. Attributes like these make Dion Jordan incredibly versatile in Kevin Coyle’s 4-3 defense.
Analysts and some fans remain uncertain how Dion Jordan will be used or where he fits in Miami’s defense. I have read he will be used in a "joker" role, which to me means he will not be an immediate starter. He will come for approximately 30 plays a game for the first month or so mostly on obvious passing downs. Jordan will come in as a DE in our Nickel package with Soliai coming out. This would mean a front four of Jordan, Starks, Odrick, and Wake. When Miami faces teams like New Orleans or New England, Jordan can come in to play a linebacker role and cover a tight end in a nickel package. Olivier Vernon would be the other defensive end when Miami wants to play Jordan in space at linebacker. Meanwhile, Miami can still use Wheeler or Ellerbe to blitz from the Mike linebacker position because they are supposed to be better pass rushing linebackers than they are pass coverage. This approach is similar to how San Francisco used Aldon Smith as a rookie. They started him out in a smaller role early in the season. As the season progressed and Smith was more comfortable with the speed of the NFL, the 49ers added to his duties and put him on the field more often. I envision Miami utilizing the same approach with Dion Jordan.
In an off-season where Miami’s focus has been on finding "playmakers" in think Ireland might have landed a "game changer".