With the 2010 NFL season in the books, it's time to turn our eyes to the NFL draft, and the pre-draft evaluation process. Before the 2011 scouting combine begins on Feb. 24, we'll be taking a closer look at the 40 draft-eligible players who may be the biggest difference-makers when all is said and done.
We continue our series with Cal defensive lineman Cameron Jordan. The Senior Bowl standout, perhaps the most impressive player in Mobile throughout the week, showed that he can crash in on offensive lines at end or kicking inside to tackle. Were there a different tackling policy during practice week, there would have been some unhappy quarterbacks on the North team.
In four seasons and 50 games (34 starts) with the Cal Golden Bears, Jordan amassed 175 tackles (88 solo), 34 tackles for loss (29 solo), 14 solo sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, five passes defensed, and four forced fumbles. His senior campaign: 62 tackles (33 solo), 12.5 TFL (11 solo), 5.5 sacks, one quarterback hurry, four passes defensed, and three forced fumbles. He's the son of Steve Jordan, six-time Pro Bowl tight end with the Minnesota Vikings.
Pros: Not explosive off the snap, but Jordan has an array of moves to get past and around blockers -- if he's backed up at the line, he can spin out very effectively into a tackle, and he's exceptional with his hands -- Ndamukong Suh(notes) is the best I've seen in recent years when it comes to separating a double-team with consecutive rip moves, but Jordan shares that skill at a lower level.
Excellent swim move to get past single-blockers, as well, and he gets to the quarterback quickly when he's free. Good re-direct when he's boxed out. As an end, shows good speed around the tackle off the snap and can shoot sideways well to the quarterback after his turn. Crashed inside very well, especially stunting in at an angle. Didn't stunt or loop a lot at Cal, but he has the speed and disruptive ability to confuse lines in the right set of schemes.
Cons: Though Jordan can get to the ballcarrier with great suddenness, he's not always accurate when it comes to taking a guy down -- he will overpursue himself right out of tackles at times. Doesn't always disengage or slip off blocks when it seems that he could. Great strength for his size (6-foot-4, 287 pounds), but purely explosive speed is not part of Jordan's skill set. He disrupts with strength and technique.
Conclusion: Cal has been ahead of the curve when it comes to providing defensive linemen to the NFL that could (and do) fit in different types of situations -- Brandon Mebane(notes) and Tyson Alualu(notes) are but two recent examples. Similarly, Jordan could excel in several different situations, and I think he'll be in different places on his NFL line, but his strength/speed ratio has me slotting him in as a five-tech end in three- or four-man fronts. Jordan can set the edge against the run, provide surprising quickness around tackle in passing downs, and split different gaps. If he shows out at the scouting combine like he did at the Senior Bowl, he could benefit from the fact that people take time to catch up to Pac-10 game film and wind up as a possible top-15 pick.
More Shutdown 40
#40 -- Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State | #39 - Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee
| #38 - Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor | #37 - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas | #36 -- Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami | #35 -- Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor | #34 - Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State | #33 -- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State | #32 - Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida | #31 - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado | #30 - Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame | #29 - Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois | #28 - Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State | #27 - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA | #26 - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami | #25 - Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin | #24 -- Jake Locker, QB, Washington| #23 -- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado| #22 - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin | #21 - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois| #20 - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State | #19 - Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland | #18 - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue | #17 - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama | #16 - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa | #15 - Tyron Smith, OT, USC | #14 - Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri | #13 - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College | #12 - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn