And so it began in 2013, the NFL Network booth reacting to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s podium announcement of Dion Jordan as the Dolphins’ selection at No. 3 overall following a trade with the Raiders. The analysts expected tackle Lane Johnson, hence their surprise. That reaction is not to be faulted.
What was said afterward, and in the weeks before, is where the lesson comes.
When projecting draft prospects, no one knows for certain.
The Dolphins finally released Jordan on Friday, ending months of expectation. The ex-Oregon defensive end totaled the same number of suspensions for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, three, as he did sacks in Miami. His regard in 2013 speaks equally to Jordan’s talent level as to there being few guarantees in scouting.
Here is what was said after Jordan was selected.
Mike Mayock: “This young man, I think he’s got the potential to be the player that I compare him to, which is Jason Taylor, who ironically played for the Miami Dolphins. I also think he looks a little bit like an Aldon Smith, and if he puts on 20 pounds on that 6-foot-7 frame, some day he might be as good as a DeMarcus Ware. He’s got that kind of edge speed.”
Steve Mariucci: “You know, I talked to his coach Nick Aliotti the other day, his defensive coordinator at Oregon. And he said this kid loves football. He loves to play. He loves to practice. He’s fully committed right now to football. This guy has got everything that it takes not only to rush the passer but to drop into coverage at over 6-6. This guy, when he puts on a little muscle, he’s going to be dynamite.”
Marshall Faulk: “Dion Jordan is the guy that you don’t have to scheme to get a sack. He gets you a sack. And if you’re going to to compete against the New England Patriots two times a year, you have to be able to just beat a guy 1-on-1 and get a sack and not blitz Tom Brady. You need this guy.”
That was the immediate reaction to Jordan’s selection.
Mayock stood out in a key area, doing well to say what Jordan could be as opposed to will be.
Pre-draft chatter included this from Bleacher Report: “If a player is going to be considered a ‘can’t-miss’ prospect, he needs to have a combination of elite physical traits, sound technical football skills and be free of character flaws. Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan may not be the first player selected on Thursday night, but when you consider the combination of athleticism and versatility he brings to the table, there is no way Jordan will fail to produce in the NFL.”
Jon Gruden anchored the ESPN broadcast’s reaction to Jordan’s selection.
He had his doubts.
“I really like Dion Jordan’s athleticism, but I’m shocked about this pick,” Gruden said. “When I watch Dion Jordan play, Mel (Kiper), I just don’t see him play. And this isn’t any false information. When you watch Oregon play, he doesn’t play against Cal because he’s hurt. But they play almost like hockey. He plays six plays; he’s out six plays. When you watch Dion Jordan play seven snaps in an NFL game, that’ll be the first time you’ve ever seen him do it. … He’s a great athlete, but there’s a lot of unknown right now at third overall.”
Plenty of love will be shown toward prospects during and after the April 27 to 29 draft.
It’s best digested with a grain of salt.