Cameron Jordan & Willie McGinest

Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan has been tied to the Patriots by draft analysts as a first-round possibility. In doing so, one line of thinking is that Jordan could be a long-term answer at the right defensive end spot that Richard Seymour primarily occupied from 2001-2008.

But as Pro Football Weekly notes, Jordan might fit best in a different way:

"A team that likes to utilize its players in a variety of positions, like the Patriots used to do with Willie McGinest, seems like the best fit for Jordan," writes Andrew Struckmeyer.

Jordan opened some eyes at the NFL Combine when he timed 4.71 in the 40-yard dash. For a player who measured 6-foot-4 and 287 pounds, that is an impressive time and highlights his athleticism. While acknowledging that timed speed doesn't always translate to football speed, it is something that coaches/scouts assess in their evaluations.

A few years ago, for example, Bill Belichick assessed the 2008 outside linebacker crop this way:

"I think the outside linebacker group was a little bit different. Generally speaking, I'd say there were more shorter players, maybe a little less speed than what we've seen, but maybe a little more power with good production. There weren't a lot of 4.6, 4.65 guys in the [40-yard dash], and not a lot of 6-4, 6-5 guys. There was a much smaller pool of those players."

This is now an interesting question to ponder when it comes to the Patriots' and how they rate Jordan: Do they view him as more of a Willie McGinest type, or a standard 3-4 defensive end?