Kelly said the Eagles had Jordan among the top four players available in the draft. If offensive tackle Lane Johnson had gone third, the Eagles would have taken Jordan fourth. Instead, it went the other way around.
That’s relevant because of reports that the Dolphins are gauging Jordan’s value in a possible trade (ESPN's Louis Riddick mentioned this earlier this month and CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported it Friday). At 6-6, 248 pounds, Jordan personifies Kelly's archetype for an edge defensive player. The fact that Kelly basically said the Eagles would have taken him fourth will trigger speculation that the Eagles should go after Jordan now.
First, let’s tamp down the significance of Kelly’s draft-day comment. Jordan played very well for him. He was drafted third overall. There was no reason for Kelly to say anything remotely critical of the kid at that point. That doesn’t mean the Eagles didn’t have Jordan graded that high -- most experts did -- merely that a benign comment isn't the basis for any kind of conclusion.
There are two considerations in any situation like this: what you’re getting and what you’d have to give up. It is almost universally agreed that the 2014 draft is as deep as any in recent memory. So a high pick in this draft has significantly more value than a high pick in last year’s more modest class.
Jordan did not have a good rookie season, to put it mildly. Pro Football Focus, which grades every player on every play in film review, called him a “complete bust” based on his 2013 season. Jordan had two sacks as a part-time pass-rusher and couldn't displace Olivier Vernon at right defensive end.
That is one reason the Dolphins appear to be ready to give up on the draft's third pick after one season. Another is that GM Jeff Ireland, who traded up to get Jordan, has been fired.
None of that makes Jordan sound very appealing. But if you've paid attention to NFL news this offseason, you might have gotten the impression that the Dolphins are not exactly a well-run football franchise. A rookie walking into the Richie Incognito-influenced locker room might have a little trouble getting comfortable and performing at his best.
If Jordan is a potentially great player, as many believed before last year's draft, stuck in a bad situation, he could be a steal. For the Eagles, he would fill an enormous need without having to overspend in free agency or hope an edge rusher falls their way in the draft.
Player-for-player trades are rare in the NFL, and it's hard to imagine the Dolphins parting with a high-profile investment like Jordan for the likes of Brandon Graham or Bryce Brown. It will probably take draft picks -- although Graham at least lets the Dolphins save face by saying they simply swapped first-round defensive ends.
Could Howie Roseman give up a higher pick in next year's draft, which should be as depleted as this year’s was flooded by the number of underclassmen jumping in? Miami might prefer to say they got a first-round pick, regardless of year, than get a second- or third-round pick in 2014.
The Eagles’ advantage is obvious. Kelly saw Jordan practice and play for four years at Oregon. He knows better than anyone what the player is capable of doing, and he knows exactly how Jordan would fit into the defensive schemes the Eagles are using.
That could make a trade very attractive or completely out of the question, depending on Kelly’s true evaluation.