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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick: Cameron Jordan, DT/DE, Cal

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Jonathan Bales

After analyzing Prince Amukamara as a potential Cowboys draft pick, I told you I wouldn’t be doing a ton of draft analysis until I finish all of my 2010 Player Grades.  But it was so much fun that I couldn’t stop.  Plus, today’s feature–Cameron Jordan–would play defensive end in a 3-4, and I’ve already graded the Cowboys’ defensive linemen in 2010.

In that post, you’ll notice the highest grade given to a defensive end was a ‘C’ handed out to Stephen Bowen.  That’s pretty sad.  The Cowboys desperately need a defensive end who can rush the passer, even if it means moving Jay Ratliff to the position.  If that’s the case, nose tackle will be a huge need.  If not, Jordan will be on the Cowboys’ radar with the ninth overall selection. . .

Scouting Report

Jordan is made to play defensive end in a 3-4 defense.  He’s 6’4”, 280 pounds with a solid frame which could add a little bulk.  At that size, he’d be a pure run-stuffing defensive end in a 4-3, but in the Cowboys’ scheme, he’s actually a bit “undersized.”  For a defense in desperate need of some pass-rushing ability from the linemen, that could be a positive.

Jordan would be a “finesse” 3-4 end, using his quickness to get to the quarterback.  His swim move is one of the best I’ve seen coming out of college, and he uses the spin move well too.  He can get neutralized at times, but that never happens when he doesn’t lose his leverage (something that takes place when he is ineffective with a finesse move).  Still, I think his athleticism and strength will be more than enough to hold up against the run.

Jordan also has experience in a 3-4 defense, which is always a positive.  Overall, I’m pretty high on this kid.  Although he needs to play under control more often, I’ll take a high motor guy over one who disappears on film any day of the week.  I’ve watched a handful of Jordan’s games, and I don’t see much bad tape.

Projection

The highest I’ve seen Jordan projected is to Dallas, so there’s a possibility the ‘Boys could trade down if they covet him.  His selection would probably be dependent on the future of Jay Ratliff: if the Cowboys acquire a pure 3-4 nose tackle and move Ratliff to end, Jordan is unlikely (although I think a Jordan/Ratliff/Shaun Rogers defensive line would be quite formidable, with Stephen Bowen coming off the bench).  If Rob Ryan decides to leave Ratliff at nose tackle, securing an upgrade at defensive end is absolutely necessary.  Jordan fits the bill.

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24 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick: Cameron Jordan, DT/DE, Cal

  1. Mark Watkins says:

    Interesting Jonathan. I’m not really sold on Prince A, even though I’m a lifelong Huskers fan. I don’t think he’s a shutdown corner type in the NFL. And he should be if they’re going to draft him that highly. In fact, for the guys that are projecting to be available at the 9th spot, it seems like trading down to get Jordan would make a lot of sense.

  2. Mark Watkins says:

    Do you see Jordan being kind of Greg Ellis type Jonathan?

  3. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Cameron Jordan IS undersized. Dallas already has a “finesse” pass rushing DE in Bowen; we need more of a complete DE. Since DE’s are somewhat more of a specialized D lineman then DTs are, I think I’m leaning more toward either drafting the exact DE we need (an all around good at both stopping the run and rushing the passer but not really GREAT at either nor are they MARGINAL at either as well) or going after a DT.

    Moving Ratliff (6’4″, 303 lbs) to DE makes more sense as we know his pass rushing abilitie – which should be more pronounced since he’d be up against tackles who are slower than guards and centers. Paea of Oregon St is in the 330+ lbs range and is THE prototypical NT and is projected to be worthy of a pick in the teens. I’d rather reach for him than Jordan. Even is drafting Paea is a “miss”, you can always move Ratliff back to NT and/or utilize Josh Brent if he’s ready.

  4. john coleman says:

    Tyrone I like your line of thinking of plugging the middle and dropping down a little to do it. However I can’t find Paea listed at 330 anywhere and the reports say he is a run stuffer. Mid teens is awfully high for a run stuffer, when say a Kenrick Ellis will be available in the 3rd or 4th.

    I’m neutral on Jordan. In the limited tape I have seen he is mediocre. As a comparison, Heyward was a man among boys in his bowl game and he is projecting in the twenties. He seems to have questions with consistent effort.
    However when he is bringing it, there is no comparison.

    I would much rather have a guy like a Dareus who has the size to move inside or out. He would be in the Ratliff mode though.

    Some guys I like are Quinn(who I think will end up a beast, although a little small at 3-4 DE) early pick, then Bailey later in the 1st and Heyward later in the first or early second. We NEED a widebody and Ellis/Taylor have the size and should be available 3rd or later. If we acquire a true NT or two thru the draft and/or FA then we may not even need an end.

    It could be Ratliff, Rogers, and Brent with Lissemore, Spears, and Bowen as backups. In this case we already have the DEs. BTW I’m keeping Spears as the NT backup here.

    With the CBA, the new staff, and a questionable talent pool this draft is going to be hard to predict.

  5. john coleman says:

    BTW- I’m also taking for granted that Bowers and Fairley are gone before we pick. With QB needs in the league, some teams may get stupid and reach for a QB or two. If Gabbert and Newton have good combines or wow teams who knows. You also have Mallett and Locker in the mix. For the record, I’ll say Locker ends up being the best over a career.

    Throw in a reach or two for WRs or RBs and we might get lucky.

  6. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I stand corrected – Paea is 312. Good catch.

    But, a run stuffer is exactly the job of a NT. Keep in mind, this is a Rob Ryan 3-4 scheme and is a little more “traditional” than a Wad Phillips one. The Jets run the same defense under Rex Ryan and have a virtual nobody at NT (think about how good it would be w/ Kris Jenkins, who is on IR, playing). Having a heavier run stuffing NT allows for greater over/under schemes for the LBs – something the Boys couldn’t really do w/ Olshansky, Ratliff and Hatcher/Bowens up front. Fortunately for Dallas Ratliff was talented enough to get into the backfield and creat tackles for losses and sacks while being undersized. Putting a space occupier / run stuffer in the middle should allows Ratliff to create much more havoc in the backfield while playing RE. Plus, it frees up our ILBs to make plays.

    I haven’t looked at Ellis but will now. Being a USC alum, I had looked at Jurrell Casey but think he’s 2nd round talent.

  7. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    JC – Just looked up that Kenrick Ellis guy. Seems like a beast (some Youtube video but mostly analysis/reports) and agree that he’ll go probably in the 3rd or later to some team that really needs a DT (like Texans, Colts, Chiefs, Vikings, 49ers, Saints or Rams).

    His off-field issues might mean he’d drop even further, which would be good for Dallas, but I wouldn’t take him any earlier than the 5th as Dallas draft picks 1-4 need to go toward DE, O line, CB and Safety). He seems like a a definitely must consider pick up in the 6th or later.

  8. Gary d says:

    I have been thinking recently about Dallas and the draft. Maybe we should try to stay regional as much as possible. Lots of kids playing football in the Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and even Mississippi grow up watching the Cowboys, and dream during high school, and also in college, about being picked up somehow by their childhood team. Maybe THAT would put the spark of desire needed to play inspired ball — championship ball — in the NFL.

  9. Rick says:

    Where do people get the idea that Shaun Rogers can be a 2-gap nose tackle? He has the size and athleticism, but he’s basically a less publicized version of Albert Haynesworth. He refused to occupy two gaps, and instead chose to rush upfield on every down.

    His refusal to buy into Ryan’s 2-gap scheme got him benched in Cleveland. Why would it be any different in Dallas? He’s also 32, injury prone, and an a-hole. Call me crazy, but I don’t think he’s the answer at nose tackle.

  10. Mark–No. Jordan will play DE whereas Ellis played OLB. In terms of pass-rush ability, I think Jordan has that sort of ability from the DE spot, which is exactly what the ‘Boys need. With everyone calling for the team to get bigger on the D-Line, I disagree (with the exception of NT).

    Tyrone–I’m not at all against drafting a true NT like Paea and moving Ratliff to DE. Actually, I support it. I still think the ‘Boys need to get more athletic across the board, however, and Jordan will do that for them at DE.

  11. JC–I have yet to study Heyward, but I will do that ASAP. I also love Dareus, as you know.

    Rick–I was unaware of Rogers’ refusal to play two gaps, but I still think the ‘Boys need to find someone in that mold…a huge space-eater at NT that will allow the team to move Ratliff to DE and allow the DEs in general to get to the passer.

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  13. Derek says:

    I cannot give your analysis much merit because it doesn’t appear that you know much about the role of a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme. It is not their job to get to the quarterback, their job is to secure the edge, stuff the run, and absorb blockers so the linebackers can make plays, hence the reason there are 4 linebackers. You could plug the biggest, baddest stud out there in at a 3-4 defensive end, whether it’s Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus, Cameron Heyward, Jordan, whoever, and they will not produce big sack numbers or get to the quarterback very often. It’s simply not their duty. With that being said, if you plugged any of those guys in at a 4-3 defensive end, you would expect them to produce around 10 sacks a year. But to draft a 3-4 defensive end and expect him to sack the quarterback 8-10 times a year is asinine and not their job. Richard Seymour could be considered on the best 3-4 defensive ends in the last decade, how many sacks does he get per year? Not much more than 5. It’s not his job. I think you need to go back and reassess what a 3-4 defensive end is.

  14. Derek–The job of a 3-4 defensive end is different in each scheme. Further, the game is changing, and I’ll take a great pass rushing and an avg run-stopper at DE over a run-stuffing guy who can’t get to the QB (Spears, Olshansky). We’ve seen how that has worked out for Dallas.

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  22. Bruce W. Cobb says:

    Jon:
    Please look at Stephen Paea, DT Oregon State. We can move Jay Ratliff
    to DE. Paea is very strong- Strong enough for all the double teams, etc. Ratliff
    will become more effective as a DE and stay an All Pro. Ware and Spencer will be able to help and get to the QB easier. The synergistic effect caused by Paea
    will make Dallas defense much better.

  23. Bruce–Will do. From the tape I’ve watched on Paea, despite his size, I actually think he’s better-suited as a three-technique, but I’ll take a closer look for you soon.

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