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GGN Mock Draft, 18th Selection, The San Diego Chargers picks Cameron Jordan, DE, California,

 

After a lot of research, I discovered the Chargers are/were looking for OLB, and/or defensive line help, probably a DE. Well, I consider this task fairly easy with all the OLBs and DEs in this year’s draft.  So I had to find which position was in greater need. A young stud OLB opposite Shaun Phillips would make this defense formable in passing situations. Yet I felt the greater need is along the defensive line. Again, not a lot of work needed with all the young DEs in this draft. However, I was quite surprise the two I really wanted and had to choose between were still on the board when it was my turn to make my pick. The two were Cameron Jordon and JJ Watt. The two are the third and fourth rank defensive ends in the draft, visa versa depending on whose draft board you are looking at. Here is their scouting reports copied from CBSsports.com

 

Cameron Jordan

 

Analysis

Pass rush: Only moderate initial quickness off the snap. Doesn't possess the top-end speed to be more than a marginal pass rusher in the NFL. Relies on his power and technique to pressure the pocket. Has a strong club move and rip and swim moves. Has the hand strength to knock away the initial punch of the pass blocker and often supplies his own punch to drive his opponent into the pocket. Good use of leverage and very good strength for the bull rush. Locates the ball and shows a late burst to close when opportunities are presented. Has long arms but is still developing recognition and timing to get his hands up. Has only five passes broken up in 50 games.

Run defense: Stout run defender. Understands gap responsibilities in the 3-4 defense. Has the long arms to keep defenders away from his chest and the bulk to anchor. Locates the ball quickly and pursues hard. Good balance and appears more agile in run defense forcing the back wide to the sideline than he is as a pass rusher. Good effort in lateral and downfield pursuit.

Explosion: Flashes an explosive initial burst but is inconsistent in this area. Doesn't have the speed or flexibility as an edge rusher to take full advantage of his spotty suddenness, but can shock his opponent when he times the snap correctly. Shows a late burst to close on the ballcarrier, resulting in big collisions. Forced four career fumbles.

Strength: Arguably his greatest asset. Possesses very good upper- and lower-body strength to remain as a five technique defensive end in the 3-4 or a base (left) defensive end for the 4-3 alignment. Comes off the snap low and hard and has the bulk to create a pile. Can drive his opponent into the pocket with his bull rush and slide off to make the tackle when the ballcarrier is near.

Tackling: Good strength for the drag-down tackle. Will lower his shoulder and bring his hips for the big collision. Strong enough that he can slip off blockers and find the ball. Doesn't have great balance or flexibility to break down in the open field to tackle elusive ballcarriers but his long arms and good hand-eye coordination help him to at least trip up the target.

Intangibles: High-effort player. Plays to the whistle and pursues hard. Good bloodlines. Father, Steve Jordan, was a six-time Pro Bowl tight end during 13 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. Suspended for 2008 season opener after an arrest for suspicion of a DUI -- the only game he missed at Cal. Played in 50 of 51 games, including 32 starts. Characterized by teammates as a "locker-room clown" and a "just a big kid at heart." Had his maturity questioned by coaches early in his career, though he emerged as more of a leader since.

 

J.J. Watt

 

Analysis

Pass rush: Relentless rushing the passer in obvious passing situations whether lined up inside or outside. Gets extra attention from opponents. Most dangerous when anticipating the snap and swimming over guards/centers inside. Spins off blocks to get outside after initial contact or pushes through doubles inside. Gets his hands into throwing lanes, using his height and length to knock down or affect passes. Nimble feet allow him to twist inside. Bounces back after initial contact, keeps his balance to find the ballcarrier. Knocks tight end off route before making his rush. Often lined up outside the tackle, can bull-rush and get corner at times against college right tackles but needs to continue improving his flexibility to beat NFL blockers.

Run defense: Active against the run. Able to stack and shed to get to outside runs, and is strong and agile enough to move down the line to be involved in inside runs. Displays some nice change-of-direction ability for his size to mirror ballcarriers trying to elude. Gives very good effort containing misdirection and bootlegs on the edge, though quicker NFL ballcarriers will beat him to the edge. When inside, has quickness to penetrate and gets his hands up quickly to maintain distance from the blocker but fails to keep his body square to the line and gets pushed out of the play.

Explosion: Flashes quickness off the snap and willingness to pop and knock back opponents. Able to penetrate gaps with a nice first step and works through double-teams with aggressiveness when lined up inside. Has enough closing speed to explode into ballcarriers and force fumbles. Doesn't have the typical explosive first step of most rush ends because of his girth and lack of ideal height. He is considered an explosive player on every down because he has arguably the strongest punch and most effective hands in the class.

Strength: Flashes strength to shed blocks and bull through double teams, but must gain muscle in both his upper and lower body to hold his ground at the next level. Can be pushed off the line by double teams, typically when turned sideways. Works with his hands against blockers, looks to potentially be good in this area. Can play too high when lined up inside to win the leverage battle.

Tackling: High-effort tackler with long arms and growing strength. Gets low despite his height to mirror and wrap up ballcarriers. Quarterbacks do not want to feel his explosive tackling in the backfield. Doesn't leave his feet, though he stretches to make a lot of ankle tackles other linemen couldn't make.

Intangibles: Excellent character and work ethic. Won the Lott IMPACT Award for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity among college defenders. Began the Justin J. Watt Foundation to help schools fund athletic programs, does quite a bit of community work. Academic All-Big Ten in 2009 and 2010. Brother Derek is scheduled to play football at UW in 2011.

 

 

I highlighted what I felt was the best attribute of each player. As you can see this was not a easy decision and I came very close to choosing JJ Watt due to his height (Very good at knocking down passes) and pass rush ability. However, I choose Jordan because of his stout run stopping ability. The Chargers were the #1 rank defense for most of last season. This was misleading. The Chargers were very weak against the run. In fact the Chargers best defense was their offense. Their offense, because of its explosiveness and the ability to get big leads made other teams’ one dimensional. However, if their offense struggle early, their run defense was exposed. One game that comes to mind was their late season game against the Raiders. I watched that game and saw the Raiders stuffed the ball down their throats. I went back and checked the stats and the Raiders rushed for 251 yards that game. I believe Jordan with his run stopping ability will be a bigger addition to the Chargers. 

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