With the 11th pick of the 2011 hornface.com Mock Draft, the Houston Texans (aka me) selected California defensive end Cameron Jordan.
With Robert Quinn and Julio Jones off the board, the popular options were Aldon Smith and Prince Amukamara, but if you read this column on a regular basis, you already knew I wasn’t going that direction.
Not that it matters, because the Texans are unlikely to draft Jordan and will probably draft Smith, but I feel strongly that the fix for what ails the Texans defense shouldn’t involve drafting another young corner in the first round or a very raw redshirt sophomore DE/LB conversion project whose near term NFL fortunes (I think) will end up somewhere closer to Aaron Maybin than DeMarcus Ware.
The way the examiner draft fell, Jordan was the best player available in my opinion, a natural 3-4 DE who fills a need in terms of strengthening the front seven.
The obvious knock on the pick is that the Texans already have Mario Williams and Antonio Smith manning the ends. Here’s what I wrote on March 5:
“(Jordan is) one of the bext 5-techniques (3-4 DEs) in the draft. But do you take him when you already have Antonio Smith slated to make $4.6 million this year at the same position?
Forget that Jordan might be a better player then Smith. It would be very un-Texan like to go purely best player available regardless of position or need.”
Read: Texans could find that drafting eleventh overall is not a good spot
Jordan raised plenty of eyebrows and his draft stock during Senior Bowl week. Rob Rang of cbssports.com listed Jordan as one of his ten ‘risers’ based on his performance at Mobile.
“Simply dominant at right defensive end and when moved inside at defensive tackle, Jordan would have racked up the sacks and tackles for loss numbers this week had he been able to take ball-carriers to the ground. His position and scheme-versatility could see his stock skyrocket just as it did with former Cal teammate Tyson Alualu after a similarly strong effort in Mobile.” – Rob Rang, cbssports.com
But what I like about Jordan, aside from being a far less risky pick than Smith, is his versatility
Steve Muench of ESPN’s Scouts Inc., via Mike Reiss, summed it up fairly well below.
“(Jordan) moves well for a guy with his size and build. So I see him as lining up at the 5-technique, stopping the run, and then staying on the field on third down and still getting to the quarterback from the tackle spot. The other part is that everything you hear about him is that he’s a great, great kid in terms of character.” – Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.
At 6-4, 287, Jordan is nearly a body double to Smith but the Texans need help at every level of the defense and it’s pressure from the front seven that makes Wade Phillips’ 3-4 tick. Adding Jordan would give Phillips more flexibility to move guys around and create mismatches on the line. Plus, Jordan would be a perfect third man in the 3-man DE rotation – keeping wear and tear off Mario and Antonio.
Cameron Jordan, DE/DT California (projection and position rank from nfldraftscout.com)
- 6-4, 287 lbs.
- DOB: July 10, 1989
- Projected draft round (1st)
- Position rank: Rated #2 of 124 defensive ends
- First-team All-Pac 10 choice as a senior in 2010. Honorable mention All-American (Pro Football Weekly)
- Father, Steve, played college ball at Brown and was a six time Pro-Bowler as a tight end with the Minnesota Vikings
Check out highlight video of Jordan here.
For the record
My past two hornface.com Mock Draft picks for the Texans were Clay Matthews (2009) and Earl Thomas (2010). Don’t ask me how Thomas fell that far last year. That was the equivalent of Von Miller being there for the Texans at 11 this year.
For more about the 2011 NFL Draft, be sure to check out the hornface.com NFL Mock Draft.