As former California defensive tackle Cameron Jordan surges into the first round of the NFL draft with what is being hailed as a "dominant" and "unblockable" performance at Senior Bowl practices, Bears fans might want to ponder why their defense was mediocre-to-bad in 2009, when Jordan was one half of an end tandem with Tyson Alualu, who was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Think about that: Two elite DEs on a unit that surrendered 25.5 points and 379 yards per game. And the rest of the depth chart wasn't too bad either.You could make an argument that Cal in 2009 was a far more underachieving year than 2010.
Anyway, back to the Senior Bowl.
Writes ESPN's Todd McShay on Jordan, "No player has helped his stock more this week than Cal DE Cameron Jordan."
We're hearing that he's been just as impressive in the interview room as he has been on the field. From everything we're gathering, Jordan is on a business trip here and he's proving to the people who matter that he's ready to be a pro. While he hasn't locked himself into the top part of the first round like Miller and Solder, he's in the process of locking down his spot somewhere in the first round.
On the downside among Pac-10 players is Oregon State DT Stephen Paea, who injured his knee Monday and may miss the NFL combine.
Jordan has been the bright spot in an otherwise sluggish start for the defensive linemen. As Chris Mortensen reported, Oregon State's Stephen Paea will miss the rest of the Senior Bowl with a knee injury. He had a solid season but didn't break through like expected. Then he measured in at 6-2, 292 pounds, which limited the number of systems he fits. There were concerns coming in. Add in the official height and weight not being great and now the injury, and there's a lot of negative momentum for a player who already had slipped down to a second-round grade.
The Scouts Inc. team also had an interesting and insightful take on Oregon LB Casey Matthews (I bet a lot of Ducks fans who've watched Matthews will agree). The conclusion:
There are some problems with his game, but he plays hard, can tackle, wraps well and has great instincts. At worst he's a fourth-rounder but has the potential to climb higher.
Another guy who's making a strong impression: Former Arizona DE Brooks Reed.
Arizona's Brooks Reed had another good day. He has heavy, violent hands. You can hear the difference in bag drills between him and other D-linemen. He used his hands really well in one-on-ones and during team periods and disengaged defenders to keep them from shooting inside. He showed a variety of pass-rushing moves from outside pass rush to inside countermoves to a great spin move to beat Georgia's Clint Boling during the team period. Just love the way the guy plays the game. He hustles, chases the ball downfield and is relentless off the edge as a pass-rusher.