The Miami Dolphins have proven in recent years to be able to take a player who does not quite fit into any one defined position, and get the most out of him by moving him around until he excels. Koa Misi has moved all around the defense. Jared Odrick played both defensive end and defensive tackle. Jimmy Wilson was both a cornerback and a safety. Charles Clay was a fullback before becoming a tight end. The team seems to like to take a player and mold him into something that can both help the team and make the player succeed.
Unless that player is Dion Jordan. With Jordan, the team cannot seem to find a home for a player selected with the third-overall pick in 2013.
Is he a defensive end? Is he a linebacker? Should be be used to rush the quarterback? Should he drop back into coverage on players like Rob Gronkowski and Calvin Johnson? Where does Jordan belong?
After injuries delayed the beginning of Jordan's rookie training camp, then two suspensions crushed the start of his sophomore campaign, this season has to be the time the Dolphins get Jordan into the right position, and the time that Jordan steps up and shows the talent that led to Miami trading up to grab him. The 2015 season may not be "make-or-break" for Jordan, but it sure seems close to that.
Where will the Dolphins use Jordan? "That’s one [decision] we’re going to keep talking through," Dolphins Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum told reporters at the NFL Owners' Meeting in Phoenix this week, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly. "Obviously he’s a great pressure player in the front seven, a great athlete. We all see the play last year where he’s running 60 yards down-field covering Calvin Johnson. There aren’t many people on the planet that can do those things. He’s a young athletic guy with great upside and we’ll see how that plays out."
Jordan has described himself as a defensive end. He wants to be a pass rusher. The problem is, the Dolphins are stacked at pass rusher right now, with All Pro Cameron Wake on one side, Olivier Vernon on the other, then Jordan, Derrick Shelby, and Terrence Fede all looking for playing time behind them. At linebacker, however, the team could use Jordan. Assuming Miami leaves Misi at middle linebacker, that would leave Chris McCain and Jordan to jockey for the starting strong side liebacker position. That may be exactly where Jordan needs to play.
Tannenbaum, and the rest of the Dolphins staff who should all speak to the media this week, could simply be playing things close to their chest at this point. The move of Jordan to linebacker makes sense on many levels, and, it is one the Dolphins saw last year as well. Jordan has one career start in the NFL, coming in last year's season finale when he started at strong side linebacker. Was that a sign of the coaches coming around to moving him there permanently?
The team will still undergo a lot of changes this offseason, with more free agents to sign and the Draft coming at the end of April, but there is one change that a lot of fans would like to see happen. Will the team move Jordan to linebacker? It may be a question that does not get answered until training camp.