Paoletti: Patriots 'shouldn't overlook Jordan if he's available'

Paoletti: Patriots 'shouldn't overlook Jordan if he's available'
February 23, 2013, 3:45 pm
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- New England made a concerted effort in the 2012 draft to improve its defensive front. Selecting D-lineman Chandler Jones at 21 overall and linebacker Dont'a Hightower at 25 proved the Patriots were serious about shoring up the line. And both players rewarded the team with solid seasons.

Not that it means the team should stop building.

New England shouldn't overlook Dion Jordan if he's still available at 29. The Oregon product stands at 6-6 1/2, a towering defensive end/linebacker who prides himself on pass rush. He was up everywhere -- standing up, putting his hand in the dirt, covering receivers in the slot.

"I feel like me lining up all over the field on defense just shows my athleticism, shows that I understand the game and I did a lot for the University," he said at the NFL combine. "My whole thing is getting after the quarterback, so pass rushing is my No. 1."

It doesn't hurt he practiced against former Ducks, current Eagles coach Chip Kelly's offense. Jordan actually started his college career on offense, but the competition at Oregon was fierce and he flipped the line to see more field time. He believes the experience works to his benefit. Kelly's super efficient, up-tempo 'O' is being adopted in the NFL -- by the Patriots, in particular -- and Jordan said he is comfortable at defending it.

"I understand defenses," he said. "Because I've played on the offensive side of the ball I understand a lot of the offensive schemes, also. It plays to my abilities, just understanding a lot of little things. And just my size; a 6-7 outside linebacker is kind of unique, I think."

So what's the downside?

His 248 pounds make him 'undersized' and some worry it will be a struggle for him to put and keep weight on. Patriots coach Bill Belichick likes his edge rushers to be long, but this one could get pushed around at the next level.

Jordan is also dealing with a torn shoulder labrum. He suffered the injury in the middle of Oregon's season when he made a bad arm-tackle against Colorado. He'll undergo surgery next week and is looking at a three-to-four month rehab timeline.

He remains vehemently positive.

"I only missed one game last season. I've dealt with it. I felt like it shows my toughness. I finished the season, I stayed through with my team. And I made sure, as a leader and as a senior of our team it shows that I’m willing to win and do what it takes to compete."