One player that many draftniks have had the Patriots potentially targeting is Cal defensive lineman Cameron Jordan. At 6'4", 287 pounds, Jordan is pretty unique for an incoming rookie in that he already has extensive playing time as a 3-4 defensive end.
While Jordan played mostly 3-4 defensive end in college, that doesn't necessarily limit him to that position at the pro level. This pre-draft season, Jordan has showcased some extraordinary athleticism (4.71 40 yard dash) and versatility. At various times, he's shown that he can line up at 3-4 defensive end, 4-3 defensive end, 4-3 defensive tackle, and even surprised some by performing in linebacker drills at the combine.
So what could this mean for his potential fit with the Patriots? As I see it, there's four potential positions he could play in the Patriots system:
- 3-4 Right Defensive End (Comment: At 287 pounds, does he have the bulk to maintain double teams?)
- 3-4 Left "Elephant" Outside Linebacker (Comment: At 287 pounds and little experience in space, can he make the tough transition?)
- Sub-package Defensive End (Comment: Patriots already have other options here, and is the position really worth drafting at 17)
- Sub-package Defensive Tackle (Comment: See explanation for #3)
Essentially, you can cross positions three and four off because Jordan is unlikely to be drafted at #17 for his sub-package abilities (Patriots have plenty of options there). If the Patriots draft Jordan, it will likely be with the base defense in mind.
All of this being said, today's coffee talk raises the question (which has been hotly debated): Do you see Cam Jordan as a defensive end or outside linebacker in the Patriots base defense?