It didn’t take long for there to be some drama in the 2013 NFL draft. And former Oregon Duck Dion Jordan was right in the middle of it.
Jordan, the hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker, was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 3 pick ... much to the surprise of the ESPN draft coverage crew. And Jordan.
After offensive tackles went first and second, Jordan was the first defensive player taken in the draft when the Oakland Raiders traded the pick to the Dolphins.
Jordan’s selection was met with mostly positive, yet still mixed responses. Mel Kiper Jr., Jon Gruden and Chris Berman praised Jordan’s athleticism and ability to rush off the edge. But they also questioned whether that’s worth the No. 3 overall pick. Obviously, the Dolphins thought it was.
Many believed that former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, now the head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, was going to take Jordan with the fourth pick. Instead, the Dolphins moved one spot ahead, leaving Kelly to take Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson.
“I was surprised ... I wasn’t expecting that,” Jordan told ESPN’s Suzy Kolber. “I’m very blessed. I’m going to bring tremendous athletic ability … I’m ready to get in there and work with the guys.”
Jordan, Oregon’s highest drafted player since Joey Harrington went No. 3 overall in the 2002 draft, was the first of what turned out to be five first-round picks for the Pac-12 on Thursday night. It was the most first-round picks since the league had six in 2008.
After the Jordan selection, things quieted down for the league until the 14th pick, when the Carolina Panthers selected Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. He was the second defensive tackle taken in the draft after Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson went at No. 13 to the New York Jets.
“He is a space-eater,” said Kiper after the selection. “He’s a stay-at-home type defensive tackle. He won’t give you a lot of pass rush. But he’s strong. He’s quick. He’s a tough kid. I thought a very good player, but the pass rush wasn’t there.”
ESPN's Pat Yasinskas has a good breakdown of what this means for the Panthers.
Said Kiper: “He has the kind of skill set you want. [But] he needs a lot of coaching ... he’s a developmental prospect … [His] versatility and mean streak intrigued a lot of people.”
Just two picks later, the Atlanta Falcons traded up to get Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant at No. 22. After posting a 4.38 at the NFL scouting combine -- third fastest among the defensive backs -- his stock jumped from early second round to first-round selection.
Said Kiper: “He’s an instinctive ball hawk. A guy I think really got better as his career moved along … this is a need area and [Atlanta] went up aggressively to get him.”
“If you’re into combine workouts, you’re into Datone Jones. Because he dominated the combine,” Gruden said. “The arrow is going up on this kid. He’s my sleeper of the first round. He has NFL movement skills ... he can play on a tight end. He can play inside. And the Packers need a dominant inside defender. Good pick.”
There is still plenty of intrigue looking ahead with names like Zach Ertz, Robert Woods, Matt Barkley, Keenan Allen, Matt Scott, Brian Schwenke, Steve Williams, Markus Wheaton, Jordan Poyer, David Bakhtiari, Chase Thomas, Kenjon Barner, Johnathan Franklin and about a dozen more from the league still on the board.
Settle in for a draft-filled weekend.