Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Dion Jordan: 'I've got a lot of work to do'
By James Walker
DAVIE, Fla. -- It was not the kind of rookie year No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan expected. After a dominant college career at the University of Oregon, Jordan was mostly a bench and role player in his first season with the Miami Dolphins.
Jordan, in limited playing time, finished with just 26 tackles and two sacks. He had zero starts backing up Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake and breakout player Olivier Vernon, who led Miami with 11.5 sacks.
“I just got to continue to develop as a player,” Jordan said Monday as players cleaned out their lockers for the final time. “I’ve gained a lot of strides. But I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Expectations were higher for Jordan, especially after Miami traded up to the third pick to draft him in April. Offseason shoulder surgery set Jordan back from the beginning. He was in and out of practice in training camp and missed time in the preseason.
Jordan didn’t appear 100 percent until several weeks into the regular season. By that time Miami’s coaches had their defensive-line rotations set, and Jordan had fit in behind Wake, Vernon and reserve Derrick Shelby. Miami used Jordan mostly as a situational pass-rusher this year, which has been a learning experience.
“This is an all-star league, and everybody can play,” Jordan explained. “I played against some great guys. The margin of victory is so small in this league, mainly because of the guys you’re playing against.”
Jordan will be expected to make a bigger impact in his second year in Miami. Consistency and entering the season healthy will be two key factors.