New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan had a massive breakout season in 2013, as he went from being a solid player into a legitimate superstar by bringing down the quarterback for a sack 12.5 times as a 3-4 defensive end. Although not on the level of J.J. Watt, Jordan is right up there with the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson and Calais Campbell (to name two) as one of the elite 3-4 defensive ends in this league. Once one of the most under-appreciated positions in the league, it’s become a marquee spot due to star talents like Watt and Jordan and their high sack numbers.
The NFL Network’s Amber Theoharis and Shaun O’Hara recently spoke with Jordan, who stated that he is looking to record 16 sacks next season so that he can end up averaging a sack per game. It’s a lofty goal, but Jordan is perfectly capable of it. The issue is that sacks are largely out of a pass rusher’s control, whereas the stat they can control the most is overall pressure, which Jordan is exceptional at. He had 50 hurries last season, and the disruptive weapon could surpass that total next year.
With another year under Rob Ryan, maturation from fellow front seven stars Akiem Hicks (a 2014 breakout candidate) and Junior Galette, and the increased volume of blitzes due to the addition of a ball-hawking free safety in Jairus Byrd, Jordan looks poised for even more opportunities to shine as a pass rusher next season. I usually don’t like sack predictions, but 16 isn’t a far-fetched total for a player of his caliber, even as a 3-4 DE. Jordan made it clear that winning a Super Bowl is his top priority, and that’s pretty much everyone’s goal. The Saints now have a top defense to match their incredibly gifted offense, so they are prime Super Bowl contenders going into the 2014 season.