12 Most intriguing Seahawks: No. 7, DE Dion Jordan
Mike Salk and Brock Huard are counting down the 12 most intriguing Seahawks players every weekday morning at 9:30 a.m. leading up to the first day of training camp on July 26. (All 2018 Seahawks Training Camp dates and times can be found here.)
The pair continued the countdown Wednesday morning by focusing on their No. 7 pick: defensive end Dion Jordan.
At a glance
Dion Jordan, 28, signed with the Seahawks on a one-year deal in April 2017. Seattle extended that stay by placing an original round tender on him this offseason. It was a low-risk investment for a player with a high ceiling: the former third-overall pick had four sacks, three hits, and five hurries through five games last season (playing less than 50 percent of defensive snaps in each of those appearances).
His injury history has concerned critics. Jordan had a third knee surgery shortly after signing with Seattle and started the season on the Non-Football Injury list. This June, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters Jordan underwent another procedure for his knee that would sideline him for six to eight weeks (which would leave him ready to participate around the start of training camp).
“As far as a narrative, as far as your story, this is one that has it all. And Dion Jordan is also proud of his own personal growth, and he should be.
“From a purely football perspective, if you’re out there with me at OTAs and minicamp watching the Seahawks and just talking ball, I’d say to you, ‘Right now as we watch this, the most challenged aspect of the Seahawks is their pass rush.’ Frank Clark was doing his thing; he’s taking a page out of Marshawn Lynch’s book and practicing when he wants to, and trying to get his new money. Dion Jordan was out again with an injury. And this is nothing against Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson, but you watch the others and they’re not elite.
“You have to be elite pass rushers in this game and especially in this Seahawks defense. You have to be an elite pass rusher if you are a three-deep single safety team. You need Dion Jordan to step up – and physically, there’s not many more gifted doing what they’re doing than Dion Jordan.”
Greg Bishop’s take
Sports Ilustrated writer Greg Bishop believes Jordan is one of the most intriguing players in the NFL this season.
“I spent some time with Dion Jordan at the end of last season. He’d never really fully told his entire story; the struggles with drugs and alcohol, the way he was using that to mask what was a pretty difficult childhood, and the way that South Beach was really difficult for him in terms of living up to being the number three pick in the draft. What I loved about the story is his agent basically got in him into a room with his trainer… and essentially saved Dion Jordan’s life.
“And here he was (in Week 10 with the Seahawks last season) coming back, playing in Arizona, the place where he had grown up, after all these struggles… and he gets a sack in that game. He sticks for the rest of the season. And they made big plans with him this offseason. They kept him around and they see a real role for him. And for me, we just don’t see that. When a guy gets suspended for a year, it’s really rare that they’re able to come back, and even rarer that they’re able to excel. To be able to do that on top of overcoming his struggles with drugs and alcohol, and working with this trainer who was once the chairman of the Afghan Women’s Boxing Federation, it’s almost like a movie if it continues.
“This is a guy that went third overall in the draft having played in sort of a rotational system at Oregon. He didn’t have a lot of stats, his sacks came often from just a couple games, and yet he was taken by Dolphins so high because they believed in his potential. I don’t think because of his age (28) that there’s any reason to think he doesn’t still have that kind of potential in him and that the Seahawks aren’t capable of unlocking it. I’d worry more about… when you don’t have a Cliff Avril coming off the edge, when you don’t have a Michael Bennett coming up the middle, and when you don’t have a Kam Chancellor allowing them more time to rush the passer, or Richard Sherman locking down a receiver so that quarterbacks have to hold the ball longer. Pass rush works in tandem with defensive backfield play, and I think the losses in the defensive backfield are going to make it that much harder to overcome.”