Dion Jordan says playing defensive end in 4-3 would 'simplify' things

Posted Apr 16, 2013

Jordan is considered one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft, but the big question will be whether he can play in a 4-3 defensive scheme

Dion JordonDE Dion Jordan
Dion Jordan told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis back in February that he felt most comfortable standing up as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Well, that’s no real surprise, seeing as how that’s mainly what he did while terrorizing quarterbacks at Oregon. Jordan recorded 23.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks the last two seasons combined.

But the 4-3 teams in the NFL want to know if Jordan, who’s considered one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft, can put his hand in the dirt and play defensive end at the next level.

"I’m more comfortable in a 3-4 because that’s what I did in college, but playing in a 4-3 will simplify things a lot," Jordan told while on a pre-draft visit with the Lions Tuesday.

"It will benefit me as far as my strong suit, which is pass rushing and getting after the quarterback."

Of the eight visits he’s taken in the pre-draft process, Jordan says it’s been an equal balance of 3-4 teams and 4-3 teams. He said the 4-3 teams have grilled him about his ability to play defense as a 4-3 end, but he just tells them to watch the tape and their worries should subside.

"They questioned it a lot because I did play in space a lot my senior year, but I feel like you turn on the film and it’ll show you that I have that ability," said.

"Versatility is one of the best aspects of my game."

Jordan (6-6, 245) had surgery to repair a torn labrum Feb. 28 and said his follow-up examination in Indianapolis a couple weeks ago went well.

"I had my surgery over a month ago and I’m very happy that it’s taken care of and I’m working to get ready for training camp and play ball," he said.

The Lions have a need for an edge rusher and Jordan could be in the mix at No. 5 if he’s still available.


Darius SlayCB Darius Slay

Darius Slay ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at the Combine, which was the fastest time among defensive backs.

With good size at 6-foot, 192 pounds, it’s no surprise his name had been one of the hottest in the pre-draft process. Tuesday’s visit in Allen Park was the 11th of a scheduled 12 before the process ends. He’ll finish his visits in Indianapolis Wednesday.

Slay's unique combination of size, speed and cover ability has recently earned him a trip to New York as a likely first-round pick.

"I know I have a lot of speed," Slay told with a smile on his face. "With my size and my speed and my strength, I think my ability to win one-on-ones is my best asset."

He finished with 40 tackles, five interceptions (which led the SEC) and 11 pass breakups as a senior.

Slay is physical at the line of scrimmage and isn’t afraid to tackle, which makes him a fit in the Lions’ scheme.

"A lot of receivers are getting taller, bigger and faster," Slay said. "They need some competition. I’m not questioning those short corners, but it’s better to be a big one."

A junior college transfer, Slay played two seasons at Mississippi State and started his senior year.