INDIANAPOLIS -- As good as Chip Kelly's offense was at Oregon last year, it is more likely that a player from the Ducks' defense will be selected first in the 2013 NFL Draft. At least this player started his Oregon career on the offensive side of the football.
Linebacker Dion Jordan enrolled at Oregon as a wide receiver. With a 6-6, 248-pound frame, Jordan moved to tight end before making the switch to defense after his sophomore season. Last year, Jordan was second on the team with 5.0 sacks and third in tackles for loss with 10.5. While those numbers are good, Jordan was also asked to drop back frequently in coverage. In fact, Jordan is so athletic he lined up against receivers in the slot.
"Dion's just a special guy in my heart. I had an opportunity to be with him for five years," Kelly said. "He had not only a huge impact on the field, but off the field as well. I'm excited to see him."
Jordan admitted that he envisioned himself running down the field making highlight catches in Kelly's up-tempo attack, but he trusted in Kelly and defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, who also came to Philadelphia with Kelly.
"That was the best opportunity for me to be on the football field," Jordan said. "Coach Kelly and Coach Azzinaro had a plan for me. I stuck with it and things worked out for the best. Coach Azz, he was the best. Not only was he a good coach, he was a good teacher. He taught us certain things about life, about how to be a professional."
Jordan also took pride in his toughness. He missed only one game despite suffering a labrum injury early in the season. Jordan will actually undergo surgery next week to repair it and will be sidelined for three to four months. However, Jordan will participate in all of the drills at the NFL Scouting Combine except for the bench press.
Projected to be selected in the top half of the first round, it remains to be seen what effect the injury will have on his draft stock. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock projected Jordan to develop into an Aldon Smith-type of player. Jordan knows that he must add bulk and strength for the "big boy" game, but he noted that he was a three-down player at Oregon which was easier after facing Kelly's offense in practice every week.
"If you could keep up with those guys Monday through Friday then Saturdays were pretty easy," Jordan said.
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