A year ago many were surprised to see California’s Tyson Alualu selected tenth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Alualu’s former teammate Cameron Jordan may also be considered a late riser in the process as the NFL draft nears.
The designation may be unfair as Draftinsider.net has had Jordan as a top 15 prospect throughout the season. The defensive end then put on a show at the Senior Bowl which was overlooked due to the play of Texas A&M’s Von Miller. Despite the perception Jordan has continued to be in the conversation among the elite prospects at defensive end and may hear his name called much sooner than later on April 28th.
Head Scout Brent Sobleski looks back at the few minutes he spent with Jordan during the NFL Combine to get a quick glimpse of the player and how he views himself.
It all begins with bloodlines. Michael Pouncey and Casey Matthews receive copious amounts of attention due to the the genetic material they possess. It is often overlooked that Cameron is the son of former Minnesota Viking tight end Steve Jordan.
“My father explained a lot to me,” Cameron discussed. “He’s helped me out pretty much every step of the way. He prepared me for the process. He said it was long and hard, like a dash and wait.”
Although Cameron didn’t follow in the footsteps of his father to become a pass catcher, the defensive end realizes his name carries some weight.
“I don’t know about upholding the family name, but I’d like to advance it,” Cameron joked.
It may be a tall task for the younger Jordan as the elder was a six-time Pro Bowler from 1986-91.
What tools does the highly rated prospect possess on the field to achieve his goal?
“I’m really explosive off the line and great locking out,” Jordan boasted. “When I lock out, I can control the man in front of me, shed and then make tackles or plays in the backfield.
“I think I’m pretty efficient at everything I do. If I had to choose one thing, it would be my technique within the pass rush.”
A pass rush may be the key as Jordan spent the bulk of his career in Berkeley playing in a 34 base defense. He was required to play over the tackle as a 5-technique and manage multiple blockers in the two-gap scheme. Jordan not only used proper hand technique to ward off the offensive linemen, but his explosive first step created issues within blocking schemes.
He was at his best in 2010 against the top rated Oregon Ducks. The California defense held the Ducks to a season low 15 points. It was the only time during the regular season Oregon scored less than 37 points. Jordan had a large effect within the confines of the game as he continually beat blocks and got up field to disrupt Oregon’s zone read.
Jordan also presents scheme versatility, which makes him more valuable in the eyes of NFL talent evaluators. As previously discussed, he already has experience in the 34 which is a rare sight in the collegiate ranks. California also flexed back and forth between a three and four man front. He has shown enough athleticism to transition from a three point stance to a two point stance in certain schemes. Jordan also dominated at the Senior Bowl as a three-technique when he was nearly unstoppable all week.
The biggest issue Jordan may face in becoming a top selection is the comparable talent at his position. North Carolina’s Robert Quinn, Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers, Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan, Missouri’s Aldon Smith, and Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt are five more defensive ends expected to be chosen during the initial 20 selections of the first round.
“In any draft, there is a plethora of talent,” Jordan rebutted. “This one is more focused on defensive line. There are a lot of guys who are pretty good and pretty great. Luckily, I think I’m one of the guys who are pretty good.”
(TFY DraftInsider.net’s head scout can be followed on twitter @brentsobleski)