Colts Potential Trade Block Target: Dolphins Dion Jordan
According to Armando Salguera of The Miami Herald, the Miami Dolphins talented, yet tumultuous pass rusher Dion Jordan could very well find himself on the team’s trade block come next week’s NFL Draft. What was another team’s trash could end up being the Indianapolis Colts treasure however.
Aug 16, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
While there is nothing reportedly imminent between the two sides, and this is merely pure speculation on my part (as a disclaimer), Jordan does make some sense for the Colts if the price is indeed right.
The former #3 overall pick of the 2013 draft simply hasn’t taken off in South Beach in the way that had originally been envisioned of him. Whether it be the multiple drug suspensions, a lingering shoulder injury, or simply being miscast in the Dolphins 4-3 defense since joining the team, Jordan has struggled with consistency and finding his defensive niche. He’s coming off an underwelming 2nd season in which he recorded 20 tackles and 1 sack in 10 games for the Dolphins.
However, unlike the trade for the #3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (i.e. Trent Richardson), which cost the Colts their 2014 first round pick and some of their dignity, acquiring Jordan likely wouldn’t cost the team much of anything aside from a late round pick allegedly. For a pass rusher of Jordan’s talent and ability, that sounds like a worthy gamble for a Colts defense that could certainly use an infusion of young talent.
Keep in mind that the Colts will be kicking the tires on a multitude of pass rushers in the upcoming NFL Draft. The team could use another young pass rusher to pair with Jonathan Newsome for the long-term, as both of their veteran pass rushers in Robert Mathis and Trent Cole are on the wrong side of 30 and getting rather long in the tooth, while the Colts have their own disappointing former first round pass rusher from the 2013 NFL Draft class in Bjoern Werner.
Sep 22, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95) reacts after defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
If the Colts elect to address their other defensive holes early in the draft such as at nose tackle and safety, the team may not have the luxury of finding an actual impact pass rusher for next season. However, the team would be absolutely hard-pressed to find a pass rusher of Jordan’s talent in the later rounds of the draft. It’s never been an issue of natural ability for Jordan, as the former converted tight end and athletic freak ran a 4.60 forty time, boasted a vertical jump of 32.5 inches, and had a broad jump of 122.0 inches at his NFL Draft Combine performance in 2013.
Rather, there’s significant questions of just how much he loves the game of football. Signaling his unhappiness with the Dolphins, Jordan skipped the team’s voluntary offseason workouts this past week. It’s looking like he’s trying to punch his ticket out of town and perhaps set up a potential reunion with “the Duckhunter” himself in Chip Kelly, as the former University of Oregon head coach has been trying to collect all of his former collegiate players as the now head coach and general manager for the Philadelphia Eagles.
As Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said in his pre-draft press conference, he’s not looking to find backups with his later round picks, he’s trying to find players that can make an impact and eventually project as starters, even playmakers:
"“If you want to get a bunch of backups in the fifth through seventh, that’s your prerogative, but we’re trying to get guys who are at least trending toward starters,” Grigson said. “I want playmakers. Chuck (Pagano) wants playmakers. We need playmakers.”"
With Jordan’s seemingly immeasurable talent, he certainly projects as a defensive starter if not much more. With the Dolphins, the 6’6″, 248 pound talent has already shown he has the elite athleticism to successfully defend league matchup nightmares like the New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski and Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson in coverage in past games. Per ProFootballFocus (subscription), he received a +2.0 grade overall in coverage despite being listed as a 4-3 defensive end this past season.
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The Colts may not be able to fix Jordan’s passion for the game or keep him permanently out of trouble, both are ultimately up to him, but the team can play him as a pass rusher as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Jordan’s currently playing a lot as a “hand in the dirt” 4-3 defensive end with the Dolphins, which may be stifling both his production and untapped potential. A transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker may place him at his natural position and in a more preferable comfort zone as a pass rusher, while also further utilizing his exceptional coverage ability in space.
At the very least, it’s worth the discussion for the Colts. The defense doesn’t have an abundance of playmakers and dynamic talent on its side of the football. Jordan hasn’t proven much with the Dolphins at this juncture, but he could become a difference-maker for the Colts in time, as he has that type of rare talent and physical ability that is worthy of a late round roll of the dice.
Nov 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95) reacts after sacking Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports