Cameron Jordan turned in a performance last season that would be best described as good, though not great. He still led the New Orleans Saints defense in quarterback pressures (61), per Pro Football Focus, but that number snapped a five-year streak of 70-plus pressure years. His 7.5 sacks tied his lowest output since notching just one takedown as a rookie way back in 2011.
Still, Jordan is a force to be reckoned with. He’s someone opponents must plan for week in and week out. Doug Farrar over at Touchdown Wire, who ranked him fifth-best among his peers, writing:
“One of the most consistently effective pass-rushers of his generation, Jordan — who was selected by the Saints in the first round of the 2011 draft — has amassed at least 70 total pressures every season from 2015 through 2019. 2020 saw a slight downturn in total pressure with 61 (eight sacks, nine quarterback hits, and 44 quarterback hurries), but that doesn’t mean Jordan was any less available to provide pressure. Often, it meant that he was the one on New Orleans’ line who was double-teamed to that others could get to the quarterback.”
It would make sense if Jordan is starting to slow down. He’s 32 and has played 900 or more snaps every year of his career, except for 2011, and you have to think that workload will start to erode his body eventually. It’s certainly something the Saints are beginning to plan for by drafting Payton Turner in the first round this spring; either Jordan or Marcus Davenport, 2018’s disappointing first rounder, will be on the outs in a few years.
Another observation from Farrar’s list is the strength of play around the NFC. Tampa Bay Buccaneers sack artist Shaquille Barrett is Farrar’s No. 1 edge rusher, while other conference rivals who made the cut include Za’Darius Smith (No. 4), Nick Bosa (No. 7), Chandler Jones (No. 8), and Chase Young (No. 9). And of the 11 players ranked at Touchdown Wire, five are scheduled to play the Saints this year. Bookend blockers Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk have their work cut out for them.