Throughout their history, the New Orleans Saints have had their share of elite talent on the defensive line. The Big Easy has been a virtual revolving door of pass-rushing talent in their 51-year history. To stand out as a pass rusher in New Orleans, a defensive end has to be a “once in a lifetime” talent. Enter, Cameron Jordan.
Cam Jordan Becoming New Orleans Saints Legend
In 2011, the New Orleans Saints knew they were looking at something special when they drafted the University of California product in the first round of the NFL draft. With a defense that ranked fourth against the pass, the Saints ranked in the bottom half of the league in sacks. With back-to-back sub-par years from Saints legend Will Smith, along with a still undeveloped Junior Galette, the roster had a need and the draft choice made perfect sense.
After a slow start in his rookie campaign, Jordan has made a name for himself in New Orleans and has been the cornerstone of the Saints defense. The combination of being from a smaller market team along with the lack of defensive talent around him had kept Jordan out of the limelight of the mainstream media prior to this season. The combination of some free-agent acquisitions along with Jeff Ireland‘s back-to-back draft successes have brought the talent into New Orleans that have allowed Jordan to flourish in 2017.
Jordan Putting All the Pieces Together
Cam Jordan seems to have entered the prime of his career. Aside from the 10 sacks through 12 games, Jordan has put constant pressure on quarterbacks, batted down balls, helped out in run defense and has even scored his first career defensive touchdown. Jordan is on pace to set personal highs in sacks and tackles this season. The boost in overall defensive talent has led Jordan to his best season ever and has led the NFC South division-leading Saints to a 9-3 record as they enter the last quarter of the season.
Jordan has excelled despite perfect conditions. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley was lost in the 2017 pre-season due to a possible career-ending heart condition. Free agent Alex Okafor appeared to be the bookend pass rusher the Saints have been looking for to balance Jordan, but the Saints also lost him for the season in week 10 to a torn achilles.
The only constant beside Jordan on the defensive line from the 2016 team is second-year defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins. The defensive depth has held down the fort amid the injuries to the starters and given Jordan the support he has needed to continue to flourish.
Jordan Climbs the Saints Sack Leaders Chart
Despite this only being Jordan’s seventh season in the NFL, he continues to climb the New Orleans Saints all-time sack leader board. At the beginning of the 2017 season, Jordan sat at number eight on the list at 46.5 sacks, already passing Saints greats such as Renaldo Turnbull (44.5), Darren Howard (44.5) and Jim Wilks (45.5).
With the 10 sacks he has accumulated thus far in 2017, Jordan has since passed legends like La’Roi Glover (50), Joe Jackson (50.5) and Frank Warren (52.5). Jordan currently sits at fifth on the all-time list, only trailing Will Smith (67.5), Pat Swilling (76.5), Wayne Martin (82.5) and NFL Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson (115).
Cam Jordan: The Fan Favorite
While it goes without saying that productive players will get the lion’s share of the fans’ attention, Cam Jordan gives New Orleanians so many more reasons to cheer for him. For one, Jordan has an infectious jovial way about his play. Jordan and his fellow defensive teammates, the “Boonk Gang“, have given Saints fans plenty to smile about in 2017.
Aside from the on-field personality, Jordan also draws in the masses off the gridiron as well. Jordan is very approachable through social media and interacts with his fan base much more than you would expect a superstar to do. He also is very involved in charitable events and goes out of his way to get others involved as well. Overall, Jordan is a very easy player to root for both inside and outside the game of football.
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