- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins created significant draft-day buzz one year ago when they traded up nine spots in the first round to select former Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan. Miami got the highest-rated player in the draft at No. 3 overall, which created high expectations upon his arrival.
But Jordan’s first year with the Dolphins was a mixture of injuries, confusion and lack of playing time. Jordan essentially had a redshirt year in Miami and finished with 26 tackles and two sacks. He finished the year as a rotational player who primarily played on special teams. But head coach Joe Philbin is expecting a significant jump in Year 2 from Jordan.
“We feel like with a full offseason, with more time devoted to his fundamentals, he will have a better grasp of the position that he’s playing,” Philbin said. “We do want to do a better job with the numbers and rotating in.”
Philbin estimated that Jordan played about 20 snaps per game. The plan is to keep Jordan at defensive end next season. Jordan struggled with his strength following offseason shoulder surgery, and Miami’s coaches were not fully comfortable with Jordan stopping the run.
Miami also is deep at defensive end. Pro Bowler Cameron Wake and 2013 sack leader Olivier Vernon are the starters. Derrick Shelby also continues to develop and took reps from Jordan. All of those things limited his playing time.
But it’s time to take the training wheels off Jordan in 2014. He must get stronger and healthier in order to become a complete player. A defensive end in Miami’s 4-3 defense must be stout against the run and rush the passer. Jordan must develop from a third-down pass-rusher to an every-down player.
There was a report in CBS Sports this offseason that the Dolphins were trying to trade Jordan.
“I’m not sure where that came from,” Philbin said. “I expect him to make a significant jump from Year 1 to Year 2. We know this guy has a lot of talent. He loves the game. He plays fast.”
The Dolphins need better production from the entire 2013 draft class in order to take the next step. Jordan, second-round pick Jamar Taylor, and third-round pick Will Davis all missed significant time because of injuries.