April 28, 2011

Cameron Jordan, defensive end, Cal

Cameron Jordan, defensive end, Cal, 24th overall pick
6'4 1/8", 287, 4.73 40

A fantastic athlete with surprising speed, huge 35" arms and an NFL pedigree, Jordan was surprisingly available to the Saints at 24. 

A big, physical defensive end was targeted by many 3-4 teams, but Jordan has enough agility and balance to be an edge rusher as well.  With long arms and strong hands, Jordan is an excellent tackler and is very mobile.  Jordan can be very disruptive, notching 62 tackles as a senior, including 12.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.   Jordan played as a true freshman in 2007 and left Cal as a 21-year old senior and team captain.

Jordan was coached by Clancy Pendergast at Cal, who also produced surprise Top 10 pick DT Tyson Alualu last year. 

A DUI arrest cost him the season opener in 2008.  He went on to start 8 games as a sophomore, notching 47 tackles including 11 for a loss and four sacks.  As a junior he started all 13 games, with 48 tackles, 9.5 for a loss and six sacks.  All along he's been playing in an attacking 3-4 defensive alignment at Cal.  His Senior Bowl performance was an excellent, dominating performance.  Runnindg a 4.73 40 at his size is outstanding, so it is puzzling why he slipped.

Jordan is the son of former Pro Bowl Steve Jordan, a 7th round pick of the Vikings in 1982 out of Brown University who played 13 years in Minnesota, starting 149 games and selected to six straight Pro Bowls from 1986 to 1991.  The Ivy Leaguer Jordan was a member of the antitrust lawsuits against the NFL in the early 1990s, when the union decertified after negotiations with NFL owners failed. "Certain things were very disappointing, and it’s almost like a replay," Jordan told Yahoo! Sports.

Could Jordan have slipped because of a negative association to his father's stance on labor talks?

Back to football.  With the Saints, Jordan will try every bit to replace Charles Grant at the LDE job.  The Saints will likely need Jordan to start right away, given the expected suspensions to starting RDE Will Smith.  Jordan will also be able to slide inside when the Saints go to odd man fronts or on passing downs, so his versatility is a major plus.  Gregg Williams has to be very happy with this pick.

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