DAVIE, Fla. -- One of the first things that got the Miami media buzzing this week at the start of Miami Dolphins organized team activities was the noticeable transformation of second-year defensive end Dion Jordan. With bigger arms, broader shoulders and overall thickness to his upper body, it was clear Miami’s 2013 first-round draft pick spent a lot of offseason time in the weight room.
Jordan, for the first time in his career, now looks like a full-fledged NFL defensive end. According to Jordan, he is up to 265 pounds, which is 17 pounds more than he weighed a year ago coming out of the NFL draft.
Bigger is definitely better in Jordan's case.
“I needed it. I was too light to be out there trying to go against some of those offensive tackles,” Jordan said of his rookie year. “For me, it wasn’t mainly the weight, it was about getting stronger. I’m still young. I’m sure the weight is going to come. But in this league, it’s a grown man's league. So I have to make sure I’m strong enough.”
Jordan entered Miami with high expectations after being selected No. 3 overall a year ago. But he was limited to being a backup defensive end and special-teams player as a rookie.
The Dolphins' coaching staff was concerned about Jordan's strength last season to hold the point of attack against the run. He played primarily on third downs and obvious passing situations. Jordan finished his rookie season with just two sacks and 26 tackles.
Jordan believes his increased strength will help him become more of an every-down player. He is currently behind two quality veterans on the depth chart in Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake and 2013 sack leader Olivier Vernon. Therefore, Jordan must make the most of his opportunities.
Jordan flashed his ability this week in practice when he easily beat Miami backup left tackle Nate Garner for a would-be sack on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Jordan hopes for more plays like that in the regular season, as the added bulk should lead to an increase in playing time.
“It's easier, as far as me being able to finish a play,” Jordan said of the added strength.
The Dolphins could certainly use more big plays from Jordan in 2014. Miami was 21st in overall defense last season and needs more playmakers to step forward.