Dion Jordan is currently preparing for the draft alongside Kenjon Barner and Kyle Long in Los Angeles. They live in the same building and spend their days at NFL power trainer Travelle Gaines' performance facility (Athletic Gaines).
Friday afternoon, I got a call from #96, fresh out of his afternoon workout in West Hollywood. We talked Combine preparation, the impact of last season's shoulder injury, MMA fighting, and yes, skydiving.
From the pep in his voice, I could tell this Duck is having the time of his life. And by attacking this process from every possible angle, he knows things can only get better.
How's the transition going?
Things have been going good. As far as training, I've been working at Athletic Gaines. There are some wonderful people surrounding me there.
How did you wind up there?
My agent actually recommended the facility to me. Also once I figured out that I had two team mates down here I wanted to jump on board. We all live in the same little building, so I see them every day. In figuring out this process, it's great to have people you've been close with; Kyle for the last year, Kenjon the last five.
Any other prospects training with you?
John Boyett is actually out here as well. There's Cobi Hamilton from Arkansas and Chance Warmack from Alabama. We've all gotten close because everybody's shooting for the same goal.
Has the reality of it all sunk in?
It's sunk in to a certain extent. It's a lot of work. I mean, we don't even have teams yet so we're just preparing to get out to Indy and show what we can do.
What's a typical training day?
At seven in the morning , we go to the field and do speed training, drill work, things that will be close to the combine. Then we have a noon workout for strength work. I personally do a lot of work with Jay Glazer doing a lot of mixed martial arts, hand to hand type things, developing a mindset that MMA fighters have.
It's totally different than any sport, so you know you have be very very tough. You have to push yourself past your comfort level and take your body and mind to another level. It's crazy because a lot of NFL guys who are very good at what they do use it. Guys like Clay Matthews, who have that mentality, who play hard every play. It's another way of thinking.
What have your trainers emphasized to you?
For me it's putting on more body weight and upper body strength. Just a lot of little things. It's not like I'm training for a whole season now. Most preparing for drills, but also the interview. That process is very important. You have to attack it just as hard as you do the on-field part.
What are you expecting from those interviews? They are very intense and somewhat bizarre. For example, 'what does the color purple mean?'
Yeah it's crazy. I had a little bit of interview training here. Of course they're gonna put you on the board because they want to know what you're made of. There are a lot of professional athletes here, so I've been talking to them about it.
Are you nervous for the combine?
No. I'm ready for it. There's no point in being nervous. It's something we've been essentially doing our whole lives.
Any drill you're dreading?
I'm not doing the bench press, but I'm looking forward to everything. Me personally, I have the mindset that I'm gonna go in and attack everything. I'm not afraid. I look forward to everything that's coming. Right now I'm going to enjoy this. I've surrounded myself with wonderful people, and I'm going to continue to do so in this process.
Is your shoulder issue going to hold you back?
I've been dealing with it for a while now, and I just don't want to re-injure it. I understand that doing the bench press isn't going to help. It won't show anything because I wouldn't be able to do it up to my full ability.
How did things end between you and the Oregon staff?
There was a lot of love. They wished me luck. It ended with a bang. We went to Arizona and won the Fiesta Bowl, so it was great. In the transition, they helped those of us heading to the draft understand what we need to do in this process.
Scouts are projecting you to go anywhere from #6 to #30, but say you're still on the board when it's the Eagle's turn, what would reuniting with Coach Azzinaro be like?
It would be wonderful to be back under his wing, to continue to learn from him. He's done a good job not only with me, but with a bunch of players who've gone to the NFL.
Are you open to changing roles in the NFL from the one you had at Oregon?
I feel blessed at any opportunity. I've never really pinned myself to one side of the ball. I feel like as an athlete I feel like I can help a team. As long as I get on the field, I feel like I can do big things.
Ok, besides training, how much fun have you been having?
Athletic Gaines has set up some fun things for us. We went to Universal Studios. We went hiking. Kenjon, Kyle and I went indoor skydiving.
Indoor Skydiving? Would you ever jump out of a plane?
No, I wouldn't jump out of a plane (laughter). That's as far as it goes.
DIONS COMBINE INFO: (www.nfl.com)
Schedule: Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), Group 9 (LB)
Friday February 22, 2013
Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
Saturday February 23, 2013
Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Interviews
Sunday February 24, 2013
NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
Monday February 25, 2013
On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis
NFL Draft Analysis (Partial profile from NFL.com)
Tall end/linebacker hybrid with excellent length. Definitely not contact-shy, extends his long arms to land a strong punch on blockers, can disengage to chase plays from behind or grab ballcarriers coming into his area. Also willing to mix it up when challenged. Long strides allow him to cover ground quickly when closing or after his strong get-off with his hand down, but also shows enough bend and short-area quickness to avoid linemen. Lines up against slot receivers and tight ends, managing to stay with them in the open field in spite of his size. Flashes quickness and bend to beat tackles around the corner, can counter with an inside rush or spin move. Also quick enough to flatten down the line to make plays on inside runs. Willing to stick his shoulder into a lead blocker to free up other defenders.