The Miami Dolphins put in a lot of work to improve this offseason. I attended most of Miami's sessions open to the media and saw progress made in several areas.
However, the one player the Dolphins couldn’t get their hands on this offseason was No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan. The rookie defensive end was the only Dolphins player who was absent from both organized team activities and mandatory minicamp.
Jordan could not attend Miami’s practices because of the University of Oregon’s quarter system. School was still in session as recently as last week for finals. Therefore, by rule, Jordan could not be in Miami working with the team.
"Hopefully it's for guys to graduate college,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said about the rule last week. “Again, I wasn't part of any of them, and nobody has asked my opinion on them, but I hope it's because we want young men to get their education. That would be great. And everybody abides by the rule, so I am fine with it. At the end of the day, we plan on having that player [Jordan] for a long time, and we'll get through that."
Jordan also is recovering from shoulder surgery in February. So he most likely would have been limited in practice. But the Dolphins could have at least got a peek of gifted player they drafted this spring.
How Miami plans to use Jordan remains mostly a mystery. It appears the Dolphins want Jordan to compete with 2012 third-round pick Olivier Vernon for the starting defensive end spot. Last year’s starter, Jared Odrick, has played mostly at defensive tackle and may be moving there full-time in 2013. Philbin also hinted this spring that it’s possible Jordan can see some time at outside linebacker, particularly on passing downs.
Jordan is expected to be close to 100 percent by training camp, and Miami has to hope he is a quick learner. Jordan missed a lot of valuable reps in organized team activities and minicamp and must make up ground to earn an immediate role in Miami's defense.