From third overall pick to fighting to make an NFL roster, it’s been a long journey for Dion Jordan. The former Oregon Duck has battled a lack of production on the field and drug issues off it. He’s been suspended on four different occasions and is just recently coming off one. He now finds himself on the Oakland Raiders and could bring some much-needed help to a lackluster pass rush.
One thing that Jordan has never lacked is elite athletism and his trainer Tareq Azim made a bold claim about the defensive end.
“He is in the best shape I have ever seen anybody in,” Azim said to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “Nobody looks like him at that size… Other than Khalil Mack. Those guys are 100 percent in shape.”
Jordan has always looked like an action figure. Pairing him with Maxx Crosby could give the Raiders one of the most athletic defensive lines in the NFL. However, it remains to be seen if Jordan can turn his career around in Oakland.
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How Dion Jordan Can Succeed With the Raiders
If there’s any team that can turn Jordan from disappointment to success story, it’s the Raiders. Just look at Darren Waller. He was pretty much done in the NFL and had served a number of suspensions. It came to the Raiders and is now one of the most exciting tight ends in the NFL. Jordan has all the tools to become the next Waller.
Jordan put up 23.5 sacks in his final two years of college. He clearly knows how to get after the quarterback. In five appearances during the 2017 season with the Seattle Seahawks, he accumulated five sacks in four games. His 2018 wasn’t nearly as productive and he missed some of it because of suspension. Jordan is 29 years old now and isn’t going to get many more chances in the NFL. He needs to be all-in on the Raiders if he’s going to succeed. Brenston Buckner is a fiery and experienced defensive line coach. He’s turned Benson Mayowa from a middling journeyman to a sack machine. Mayowa doesn’t boast nearly the same athletic traits that Jordan does. He needs to listen to what Buckner is saying and stay out of trouble and he could find new life with the Raiders.
When Will Jordan Makes His Debut?
A matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday seems like the perfect time for Jordan to make his silver and black debut. The Bengals are 0-9 and there wouldn’t be much risk involved in playing him. That being said, the Raiders can’t afford to get sloppy right now as they need to be close to perfect the rest of the season to sneak into the playoffs. With Arden Key done for the season, there is a spot on the defensive line open.
Jordan definitely has a shot to play on Sunday, but it’s more likely he makes his debut against the New York Jets in Week 12. He has a ways to go before he earns some snaps, but the fact that he’s stayed in such great shape is a good sign.