Cameron Jordan 2011 NFL Draft Scouting Report


I’m pretty high on Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan. Coming into the season, I thought he was the most underrated draft prospect in the game. But, coming into the season, he was projected to be a 3rd round pick. Starting around the 3rd week of the college football season, his stock went onto a euphoric rise and he became the first round prospect he deserved to be. He’s no longer that underrated. But he’s still a great player.

Jordan has solid physical tools. He has good height, ideal bulk for a 3-4 defensive end, and above average speed and athleticism. However, he has mediocre strength.

Jordan has put up above average numbers at Cal. In 2009, he got 45 tackles and 6 sacks, but he only deflected 1 pass all season. In 2010, he got 51 tackles and 6 sacks, and he improved his pass deflection numbers, managing 3.

Jordan has pretty good intangibles. He has one DUI arrest on his record from 2008, but, aside from that, he’s squeaky clean. He’s mature on the field, he plays with ideal on field intensity, he shows good leadership skills on the field. He clearly works hard at the game.

Jordan has good instincts. He knows the game well, he reacts quickly, and he takes ideal angles in pursuit. He also usually stays disciplined on misdirections, play-actions, and screens. His instincts account for most of his production as a run stopper.

Jordan is a good tackler. He uses ideal tackling fundamentals, he has loose hips that allow him to tackle elusive players in the open field, and he gets great leverage on the ball carrier. However, he lacks the strength necessary to make arm tackles in traffic.

Jordan has excellent short area quickness and athleticism. He has outstanding quickness off the ball, very loose hips that allow him to change directions in pursuit, and enough speed to chase down ball carriers in pursuit. Jordan’s quickness is among the best of defensive lineman his size.

To me, the key to versatility for defensive lineman is how well they use their hands. Some defensive ends use their speed to get sacks; these players are usually poor along the interior of the line, for it’s impossible to use the speed rush along the defensive line. Defensive tackles often use the bull rush for production, but they don’t make good defensive ends because it takes too long to get to the quarterback using the bull rush on the exterior of the line. But guys like Jordan and Aldon Smith can line up anywhere and shed blocks because they’re dominant with the use of their hands (watch the video in the Aldon Smith scouting report and notice the 260 lb lineman line up at defensive tackle and create pressure). Jordan is designed to play anywhere on the field and create pressure because of his brilliant hands. He doesn’t need athleticism too create pressure; he uses his hands. So he can line up against guards, tackles, and centers and create pressure. This is valuable because he has scheme versatility and when lining up against different linemen using different pass rush moves no one lineman can get a real idea of how he tries to shed off blocks. He has the bulk and experience for 3-4 defensive end 4-3 defensive tackle. Jordan is great with the use of his hands because of ideal fundamentals and the fact that he has really long arms (the 4th longest wingspan of all defensive linemen at the combine; it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Aldon Smith was number 2 as well). It’s what makes Jordan a special player.

Jordan’s only real weakness is below average strength. He lacks the strength necessary to make arm tackles in traffic or use the bull rush effectively to create penetration. It’s his only real weakness.

Overall, I love Jordan because of his effective use of hands and excellent fundamentals on the field. He should be a great player in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Justin Tuck plus 10lbs.

Grade: 97 (worthy of top ten pick)

Projection: 95 (will be a mid-first round pick)

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