Clayton: Dion Jordan’s athleticism makes him an intriguing addition to the Seahawks
One of the keys for NFL teams is signing their own draft picks to second contracts.
Some of the best teams in the league are those that re-sign draft picks after their rookie deals, which, since 2011, are four years in length for drafted players. Bad choices or steep prices can make that difficult. From the 2011 to 2013 drafts, roughly 16 percent of draft choices signed second contracts with their original teams.
Tight end Luke Willson is the only player from the Seahawks’ 11-member 2013 draft class to get a second deal with Seattle, but general manager John Schneider is trying a different strategy. He’s taking advantage of a bad draft and giving second chances to 2013 choices who weren’t re-signed.
On Tuesday, the Seahawks signed defensive end Dion Jordan, the third overall pick in a 2013 draft in which only 35 choices have received second deals from their original teams. Jordan joined tackle Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick that year, along with running back Eddie Lacy and linebacker Arthur Brown, second-round choices in 2013.
Jordan is the ultimate Hail Mary. Coming out of Oregon, he was considered an athletic freak with the potential to be a big-time defender. He was 6 feet 6 and 1/4 and 248 pounds. He ran a 4.54 40. All the numbers pushed him to be the third pick in the draft by Miami and the first defender taken.
Jordan was the ultimate failure. He had only one start and three sacks in four years. He faced three drug suspensions and underwent two surgeries. Jordan hasn’t been on the field for a regular-season game since 2014.
It was no surprise that the Dolphins released him March 31. They had had enough.
Still, he’s an intriguing signing for the Seahawks. If coach Pete Carroll finds a way to resurrect his career, Seattle’s defense may have found a player who could help as a pass-rusher along the defensive line or at strong-side linebacker.
The Seahawks should get a good indication early in organized team activities if he has a chance to succeed. The first thing to notice will be if he’s in condition. Dolphins beat writers only had a chance to see one practice last year in which Jordan was on the field and working with the team. In that practice, Jordan looked slower and heavier. He was 275 pounds and may have been carrying some extra weight. He didn’t have that V-shaped look that he had as a 248-pound rookie. Still, being 6-6, Jordan can carry 275 pounds and make it work on the field.
There were times in his first two years that Jordan did some amazing things. As a rookie in 2013, Jordan, then a linebacker, was asked to cover Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. He ran with him step for step and did the same the next season against Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
The Seahawks should see if Jordan, now 27, still has the freaky speed he had when he was 23 and 24.
Former teammates liked him in the locker room, where he was never considered much of a problem. Some of his off-the-field issues were partly a product of his friends outside of football.
The Seahawks should find out quickly if Jordan is willing to work, win over teammates in the locker room and find a way to make the roster.
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