The Lions will probably be faced with a decision between need and value when their first round pick comes up at number 13 overall. While linebacker and cornerback are the primary positions of need, mock drafts have trended towards the Lions selecting an offensive tackle based on maximizing the pick’s value. Drafting from a value standpoint makes a lot of sense but there is another position that could prove to be just as value-oriented due to a deep class of highly rated prospects. Keep the defensive end position in the back of your mind as a darkhorse for the Lions at 13. One prospect that could be available is California’s Cameron Jordan.
Reports suggest that Kyle Vanden Bosch will be healthy whenever the 2011 season starts so drafting a defensive is nearly identical to selecting an offensive tackle from a roster strategy standpoint. The Lions would be looking for an offensive tackle to eventually take over for Jeff Backus but could provide depth and perform in the short term when called upon just as a rookie defensive end would be seen as the heir apparent to Kyle Vanden Bosch while working in on a rotational basis through his early years.
So, what does Cameron Jordan bring to the party? Let’s start with the measurables:
Weight: 287 lbs
40 yd dash: 4.78 sec
Broad Jump: 9’9″
3 cone: 7.07 sec
Watch combine workout here
The thing that the Lions coaching staff will love about Cameron Jordan is his versatility. He played all over the defensive line while at Cal and the Lions staff has shown an ability to get creative with such players. The combinations and permutations along the defensive line would be nearly limitless when Ndamukong Suh is paired with a guy like Cameron Jordan.
That kind of versatility means that Jordan could become a hot commodity since teams that run 4-3 and 3-4 schemes should have no trouble finding ways to use him in their defenses. ESPN.com’s scouting report highlights this:
Projects best as a 3-4 DE in the NFL but can also play power-end in 4-3. Has adequate-to-good quickness for his size. Would fit well with a team that likes to use multiple defensive fronts.
He is anything but a one trick pony, as noted in the National Football Post scouting report:
Has really taken his game to another level this season, being productive at a number of positions along the defensive line using his combination of power, burst and suddenness to beat blocks and get after the football.
Cameron Jordan is rated the number 15 overall player in the draft by Mike Mayock, 11th according to the National Football Post and 15th by Scouts Inc so he definitely fits value-wise around the Lions pick. My research makes me think that Jordan would turn out to be a safe pick but he might not possess the upside of some other defensive end prospects. There is something to be said for a solid player that can anchor one side of the defensive line but if you’re looking for a defensive end to land on a highlight reel then Jordan may not be your guy.
Alright, Lions fans. How would you feel about the Lions taking a defensive end in general and Cameron Jordan in particular?