Did the Miami Dolphins even get the bare minimum of an automatic starter by trading all the way up from No. 12 to the No. 3 pick in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL draft?
It won’t matter if linebacker/defensive end Dion Jordan turns out to be a dramatic finisher, turning third-down situations into disaster for opposing quarterbacks with sacks and fumbles and other spectacular splatters.
Miami general manager Jeff Ireland certainly showed the kid how it’s done Thursday night. He brought the heat on Oakland, barrelling in from the outside to propose that the teams swap first-round picks and that Miami give up one of its two second-round picks, too.
That’s a good deal for the Dolphins, one that no one would have dared to propose to the late Al Davis. Stunningly, the Raiders took it, which brings us to the question of how much Miami got in the bargain.
I’m worried that it’s too much of a reach, but to be fair, those same doubts were voiced here last year when Ryan Tannehill, a quarterback with just 19 college starts, went to Miami on the eighth overall pick. So far so good on that one, as it turns out.
That’s how Ireland operates, or so it seems now that we’ve finally gotten to see him operating confidently and without restrictions. His preference, on draft day, at least, is to choose the basic ingredients he wants in a first-round candidate, then pop it all into the microwave, the potential and the flaws alike, for instantaneous use.
In that respect, Jordan doesn’t even come completely assembled. He had shoulder surgery Feb. 28, leaving Ireland to project that his new star is “about a month into rehab but he should be fine. It’s not a major, major thing.”
Hey, when you’re using the No. 3 drafting position, everything is major, squared.
Either way, it’s on Jordan to make sense of it now. Nothing Ireland can say about his daring decision will suffice until the blazing pass rusher from Oregon makes like Cameron Wake and starts gashing his way into the backfield.
The same goes for what Ireland can’t say right now, how he might still have plans for getting left tackle Branden Albert in a trade with Kansas City or some other target at that position in Friday night’s second or third rounds. Specific to the Albert trade, Ireland stopped by to see reporters midway through the first round and said “right now it’s nowhere on that thing.”
Well, he’d better have something cooking. There’s simply no excuse for leaving Tannehill exposed when Lane Johnson, a versatile left tackle marinated in the hurry-up offense at Oklahoma, was there for the taking.
To Ireland, though, Jordan has “a skill set that is unique.” The GM doesn’t mind if the Dolphins only get to access those skills on certain downs, either.
“I think eventually we certainly see him as an every-down player,” Ireland said. “Like all players need some time to grow into a position, he’s certainly one of those guys who’s going to have a role. I would say third down for sure, and then eventually be an every-down player.”
Jason Taylor is the former Dolphin whom people are comparing Jordan to, but again, that’s a stretch. Jordan had 12.5 sacks in two full seasons as an Oregon starter. JT had at least that many in four separate NFL seasons.
Surprised? Yeah, everybody is, including Jordan himself, and Ireland still has six rounds of bobbing and weaving and maybe even a few more haymakers to go.