Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Despite minimal role, Jordan 'gained a lot of strides'


As one of the most physically gifted prospects in last year's draft, Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan certainly expected to be able to contribute early on in his rookie season.

Unfortunately, he only managed two sacks and 16 tackles in his first 16 games, mostly due to his coaches' decision to give him just a situational role. His 339 snaps in 2013 were by far the lowest of any top-20 pick, other than those that landed on injured reserve.

The lack of production and playing time led many to believe it was a lost season for the Dolphins' third overall pick, but Jordan doesn't exactly see it that way.

"I’ve gained a lot of strides but I’ve got a lot to work do, obviously," he said recently, according to MiamiDolphins.com. "If you’re out there you’re expected to be productive and I was out there, no matter many how snaps it was."

". . . I have to make sure I gain those strides so I can help my team out and make sure we can pull out these big wins."

Last year's top defensive prospect seems to understand better than most that he's a work in progress. He also has a good grasp on why his playing time was so limited in his first NFL season.

"The way a lot of our games went, teams were running the ball a lot and I don’t really think they wanted probably one of the lightest guys in the defensive line room playing all of those double teams and scoops," Jordan said. "I’m a pass rusher."

While he and his teammates await official word on whether or not the staff that selected him will be back next season, Jordan plans to build on what he's done so far, even if it really wasn't that much.

"I’ve just got to keep my feet in the dirt and grind it out," Jordan added. "I just have to gain the respect of my teammates and my coaches and eventually I’ll be able to get out there and show them what I can do."

Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily