Who Dat? Cameron Jordan

New Orleans selects Cal's former defensive lineman with the 24th overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Photo: Cameron Jordan led Cal's defensive lineman last season with a career high 62 tackles, 12.5 of which were for a loss.
Allyse Bacharach/File
Cameron Jordan led Cal's defensive lineman last season with a career high 62 tackles, 12.5 of which were for a loss.

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Every mock draft had Cameron Jordan going in the first round of Thursday night's NFL Draft.

But other teams kept passing over him, selecting other defensive ends instead of the former Cal standout. So Jordan waited at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, his tan suit and red plaid shirt perhaps too flashy for someone whose name had not yet been called.

They'll fit perfectly in New Orleans, where Jordan will play next NFL season after the Saints selected him with the 24th pick.

He is the 26th Cal player to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft.

Five defensive linemen were selected ahead of Jordan, whose father Steve played in the NFL for 13 seasons and was invited to six Pro Bowls as a tight end with the Minnesota Vikings.

The younger Jordan knows what it's like to be looked over.

Jordan arrived in Berkeley as Rivals' No. 8 prospect in Arizona. He played in all 13 games as a freshman, but did not earn his first start until his sophomore year. Against Arizona State on Oct. 4, the fifth game of the 2008 season, Jordan made his first career start. He had eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, earning him Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

He started all but one game after that.

Jordan was a honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 2008 and 2009. As a senior, he finally made the first team, finishing the season with 62 tackles, 12.5 for loss. Pro Football Weekly dubbed him an honorable mention All-American.

The Chandler, Ariz., native was a star for Cal's defense, and when the season ended and pre-draft buzz and workouts started up, Jordan's name held more repute than his team that went 5-7 on the season.

In a sport full of egos, attitudes and off-the-field drama, the affable Jordan was targeted as much for his athletic abilities as his personality. His strong character stood out in interviews, according to many sources.

Teams also appeared to like his versatility, that at 6-foot-4, 283 pounds with a 4.74 40-yard dash, Jordan can play both defensive end and tackle, and perhaps linebacker as well. He is considered to have a quick first step, and the endurance to play every down.

Still, 23 picks went by without Jordan hearing his name called.

He's in good company though. The only other Bear to be the 24th pick in the first round? Aaron Rodgers.


Contact Jonathan at [email protected]

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