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DE Jordan A Perfect Fit For Wide-Nine Scheme

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Fourth Year Player Poised For A Resurgence

Kevin Nogle

From the moment he was drafted three years ago, Dion Jordan has been an enigma; like an exotic dancer, wreathed in a multitude of veils and scarves, try though we might to pull aside the veils and see what lies beneath, the dancer deftly slips away, leaving us grasping at empty air, left only to speculate at what talent and skills lurk beneath the surface.

Aside from his suspensions, Jordan, to this point in his career, has been noteworthy for two things: being the highest drafted defensive player in franchise history, and inciting more disagreement and acrimony among the team's fan base than any other player in recent memory. At issue has been whether or not the team is using Jordan properly - when your favorite team has had one winning season in the past fifteen years, it's easy to want to second guess the coaching staff. It's also easy to forget that, owing to injuries and suspensions, Dion Jordan, entering his third NFL season, has played in a total of only 26 games and started -- count it -- only one.

One of the most popular beliefs on the Phinsider board is that the team should move Jordan to linebacker, even though it has yet to be determined whether or not he can play the position he was drafted for and remains listed at: defensive end.  At 6 6 1/2, 275 lbs. , it would seem, that at least for this season, Jordan will remain at end.  The newly implemented 'Wide-Nine' defensive scheme is, in our opinion, the ideal alignment from which to unleash the veritable arsenal of size, strength, speed and athleticism Dion Jordan possesses.  This defensive scheme is designed to feature, and highlight, the pass rushing skills of the defensive ends, and Jordan, whom John Brenkus, of 'Sports Science' called, "One of the most agile pass rushers we've ever analyzed", could well begin making up for lost time sooner, rather than later, by terrorizing the quarterbacks of opposing teams this season.

To be sure, the team has a logjam at defensive end, while being woefully thin at all three linebacker spots.  However, fans should be thinking beyond just the 2016 season, in assessing Jordan's long term value.  After all, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams aren't going to play forever. If we're willing to, repeatedly, give the front office a pass, for devoting nearly their entire draft, for three consecutive years, to the offensive side of the ball, we should be equally willing to apply this same line of thinking to how the team uses what could potentially be its next great defensive lineman.

The idea that Jordan should be deployed in a wide variety of ways - call it the 'Swiss Army Knife' philosophy - while impressive sounding on paper, simply isn't realistic for a player who is still trying to learn one NFL position. As for Jordan's oft vaunted, and, in our opinion, far overrated, coverage skills, those skills are much more likely to be effective when used a handful of times a game, when the other team doesn't know he'll be dropping into coverage.  With his height, ridiculously long arms (81" wingspan) and athleticism, think Jordan might be able to bat down some balls at the line of scrimmage ?  Good guess.

While there has been much arguing and disagreement on this site, as to how Jordan should be used, and while we are equally sure that, if we conducted another ten polls, on top of the three or four that have already been conducted, every one of them would reflect an 80% belief on the part of the fans that Jordan belongs at linebacker, if we read between the lines, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph's philosophy would seem to suggest that Jordan will remain at defensive end. When he announced the position change for former linebacker Chris McCain, to defensive end, Joseph cited McCain's size (6'5", 250) as being a better fit at DE, and Jordan is even bigger than McCain.  Ultimately, though, this isn't about who's right and who's wrong; if the team had done what this column wanted them to do in the past, Brandon Weeden would be quarterbacking this team, and we'd have drafted Danny Shelton a year ago, instead of DeVante Parker. No one can be right all the time - what's important is that the Miami Dolphins return to respectability.  The 'Sports Science' video, featuring Jordan, is below.