Friday the Dolphins officially released former third overall pick Dion Jordan. The Oregon star pass rusher shined in a draft where there were few bright spots, so the Dolphins made a strong move to trade up from the 12 spot to get him.
In that trade, they had a willing partner in the Raiders, who had the third overall pick and were without a second round pick (the final piece of the Carson Palmer trade) and were desperate to start their rebuild efforts through the draft.
So, the Raiders and Dolphins swapped picks in the first round, the Dolphins got their man in Jordan, and the Raiders took the 12 overall pick and added a pick at 42 overall.
When it was the Raiders pick at 12, they took Houston cornerback DJ Hayden. When their pick came at 42 overall, they went with raw upside in Florida State tackle Menelik Watson.
All three pieces in that deal fell flat in their NFL careers from there.
Early on both Hayden and Watson couldn’t get healthy and stay healthy. Hayden missed the entire offseason as a rookie after a surgery to remove scar tissue from his abdomen — remnants of the surgery to repair the life threatening heart injury he suffered his senior season at Houston. A hesitant eight games as a rookie and he landed on IR with a knee injury. A foot injury in his first OTA practice the following offseason would have him out an entire calendar year.
Watson suffered a cal injury in his rookie camp and ended up appearing in just 5 games that season. After appearing in 12 games in 2014 — mostly as a tackle eligible — he would miss the entire 2015 season with injury. His 2016 season began with him again winning the starting tackle job, and again falling to injury.
Watson showed some promise at right tackle in the few healthy starts he had. Hayden struggled in coverage with getting his head turned and racking up penalties with his receiver often getting behind him. The team didn’t pick up Hayden’s fifth year option, and both he and Watson left this offseason as free agents.
Jordan has had his injury issues as well, including missing all of last season with a knee injury, but he was also suspended for the entire 2015 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. With all those issues, he hasn’t seen an NFL field since 2014. He has appeared in a total of 26 games with one start and has put up 3.0 career sacks.
The suspension in 2015 meant his contract tolled, and next season would be his fourth on his rookie deal. The Dolphins had finally seen enough and cut ties with Jordan.
You could look at this trio and judge the Dolphins and Raiders for their picks or you could judge the 2013 class as a whole. I choose a little of both.
Normally jumping up from 12 to 3 would garner more than a single second round pick. But the value in this draft wasn’t there near the top, and it wasn’t a franchise quarterback or left tackle the Dolphins were after, so they weren’t going to offer the moon.
The Dolphins, as it turns out, would have been better served to get the next defensive end, Ezekiel Ansah, who went two spots later to the Lions.
Either Sheldon Richardson or Star Lotulelei would have been a far better selection than Hayden. And that’s not even hindsight. I wasn’t alone in that opinion at the time. Richardson and Lotulelei went with the next two picks respectively.
Another indication of how bad this draft was is EJ Manuel was the top quarterback. The Bills did like the Raiders and traded down to get the guy they wanted in a more reasonable range.
Even with the Hayden pick made in the first round, Kawann Short was on the board when the Raiders picked at 42. Carolina smartly got both Lotulelei and Short. That’s to say nothing of Le’Veon Bell who went six picks later.
Quite a mess of picks the Raiders had in that draft. As of a few weeks ago every one of their picks in that draft are now gone. Who knows, maybe they can bring in Jordan for a look. What the hell, right? Nah.