Daily Focus: What can Miami expect from Dion Jordan?
Will the former No. 3 overall pick upgrade the Dolphins' defense? Plus, a look at Jameis Winston's rookie year, and Ravens rookie Keenan Reynolds.
Daily Focus: What can Miami expect from Dion Jordan?
Editor’s note: Every weekday in “Daily Focus,” PFF analysts take the latest NFL news and translate what it really means for each team involved.
What can Miami expect from Dion Jordan is he is reinstated? At 6-foot-6 and around 260 pounds, the 2013 No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan looked like he had the potential to do it all for the Miami Dolphins. But that hasn’t taken place to this point in his career, as he has played just 562 snaps in his career thus far, in part due to his being suspended for the entire 2015 season after multiple substance abuse violations.
He is reportedly set to apply for reinstatement to the league on Wednesday. If he does return to the field for Miami, what can we expect? Here are some things we know about his play to this point in his career:
The first is that Miami hasn’t seemed to know what to do with him. He has flashed positive grading in every area, but been consistently good at none. Over his rookie season he spent 69.3 percent of his snaps at defensive right end (DRE), and he began the 2014 season in the same fashion – playing 26 of 30 snaps in that spot in his first game back on the field that year.
But then the Dolphins started experimenting with his alignment, and two weeks later he lined up in 12 different positions on the defense in just 31 snaps, including split out to cover the slot and inside at defensive tackle. That was his most diverse game in terms of deployment, and he still always played more snaps at DRE than any other spot on defense, but the team continued to move him around throughout that season.
Ultimately, regardless of where he has lined up, we just haven’t seen a lot from Jordan to suggest he will dominate at any one spot. In the third game of his NFL career he earned an excellent pass-rushing grade, notching five pressures on only 31 snaps and 20 rushes, and against Detroit in 2014 he earned a solid grade in coverage, breaking up the only pass thrown his way – intended for Calvin Johnson. But these have always been fleeting glimpses.
Right now Jordan remains an unknown quantity, both in terms of his potential and in terms of his role in the NFL. Should his reinstatement be successful, the Dolphins need to work out what they are going to do with him on the field throughout this preseason. If the 2014 preseason is anything to go by, the answer is to just line him up at DRE and let him get after the passer. That preseason he had a positive pass-rush grade in three of the four games he saw snaps in, and was one of the more impressive rushers in the league during that span (see below).
Just how good was Jameis Winston’s rookie season? If there’s one word that has described Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s football career since college, it is inconsistent. His 2013 season was spectacular, but his final college season was decidedly average, grading out as just the 20th-best quarterback in the nation in PFF grades, and only the 12th-best of his draft class. Obviously his potential was far higher than that, but his rookie season highlighted some of that inconsistency. Here are his game-by-game grades from 2015:
Winston finished the year as PFF’s No. 19 QB in passing grades, which is pretty good for a rookie. Take out his three worst games and he would jump to No. 7 — one spot below New Orleans’ Drew Brees and ahead of Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, who enjoyed the best season of his career.
In grading terms, Winston posted the second-highest single game grade we awarded this season, but also the second-worst grade — beaten only by Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s nightmare for the ages against the Chiefs, when he was injured to the point that every pass seemed to be thrown straight to a Kansas City defender.
Winston has big-time talent, and if he can work out the bad aspects of his game, he can be a top quarterback in this league. The fact he is working hard to drop weight, as reported this weekend by ESPN, is a good sign that he is on the right track to do that, if for no other reason than it shows he is dedicated to becoming the best player he can be. Whether a lighter playing weight directly correlates to that improved play is another matter entirely, but the 2016 season from Winston should be fun to watch, regardless.
What can the Ravens expect from rookie Keenan Reynolds? One of the great unknowns about drafting players from a service academy is to what degree their military service will get in the way of their ability to play in the NFL. Former Navy QB Keenan Reynolds graduated from Annapolis, Maryland over the weekend, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced on Friday that Baltimore’s sixth-round pick may defer his service to play in the NFL.
So now the Ravens will get a chance to use him, and we will get to see how well he translates from triple-option quarterback to kick-returner and wide receiver. He wasn’t asked to do much of either at Navy, where he was the team’s quarterback, albeit one who rushed (261) far more often than he passed (137) in 2015. A transition to running back at least made some degree of sense, given his familiarity with carrying the football, but at 5-foot-11 and under 200 pounds, he may be more naturally suited to receiver and return man from a body-type standpoint. Either way, he’s an intriguing weapon at the Ravens’ disposal.