California Golden Bears DL Cameron Jordan stopped by the NFL Network studios Friday, and we took some time to get to know him as he prepares for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Dan Hanzus: The draft is creeping closer. Have you been following any of the mock drafts?
Cameron Jordan: The last two weeks or so I’ve heard a little bit about it, but other than that I’ve tried not to pay too much attention to it. I don’t think that’s where my head needs to be at.
DH: Do you have a preference where you end up?
CJ: No, I don’t. I think I transition well to any place I go, and I adapt to any situation.
DH: Tell us a little bit about your college experience at California.
CJ: Loved it. Absolutely loved it. I don’t think I could have picked a better place. With Berkeley being right there, there was always so much to do. … I was enamored by San Francisco when I first got there. We were in a daze, just walking around. … It was all about the fun, the searching.
DH: You put on an impressive show in the Senior Bowl. What was it like working with NFL coaches that week?
CJ: It was real good. (Bengals defensive line coach) Jay Hayes taught us some things that I can see myself being able to do. That was the first time I’d been in a 4-3 in a couple of years, so it was fun sort of cutting loose.
DH: What separates you from all these defensive line prospects in the draft?
CJ: I like to rely on my versatility because I played in a 3-4 and a 4-3, and I’ve played almost every position within it.
DH: What aspects of your game do you feel need improvement?
CJ: It’s about refinements of technique. In the run game, working on my ability to keep my eyes up. When I don’t, I lock out, my head goes down and linemen can pop my arms, my arms fall, my head follows — it’s not a good look. From a pass-rush standpoint, I need to refine some of my techniques to make it more crisp.
DH: You were born and raised in Chandler, Ariz. — Cardinals country — but your dad (Steve Jordan) was a standout tight end for the Minnesota Vikings. Where did your NFL allegiances lie growing up?
CJ: Definitely the Vikings. My dad played his whole career there, so I just grew up following them.
DH: What have you learned from your father in terms of preparing for an NFL career?
CJ: I definitely took after his hard work ethic. In everything you do, you have to focus on pushing yourself to be the best you can be. Everything else will fall into place.
DH: Speaking of your dad, were you aware of the memorable video segment he appeared in alongside late WWE great “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig in 1992?
CJ: Oh my goodness. (laughs) I saw that. I posted it on my Facebook a couple months ago. I was like, ‘Really Dad, this is your shot at acting? The next thing you know you’re going to tell me you know Justin Bieber.’ It was pretty funny.
DH: My sister used to have a huge crush on Mr. Perfect. She watched that clip all the time.
CJ: (laughs) I grew up watching “Bam Bam” Bigelow.
DH: You were still very young when Steve’s career ended after the 1994 season. What do you remember about his career?
CJ: I remember locker rooms. I remember playing on the indoor field. I remember getting locked out of the car because it was so cold in Minnesota the locks froze. I remember back when there were Gatorade cans. That was my favorite part of the day, getting a can of Gatorade before I went home.
DH: You majored in legal studies at Cal. Are you planning on a law career post-football?
CJ: I think so, because my parents say I like to argue my points. I’ve always come in with a plan. Back when I wanted a Nintendo 64, I gave a 20-minute presentation. How I was going to earn it and what they were going to do to buy it for me. I had a whole set plan: ‘I’m going to do some dishes, I’m going to do some yard work’ and what not. They didn’t go for it.
DH: So they basically let you ramble for 20 minutes then shut you down?
CJ: (laughs) Yeah, pretty much. I’m pretty sure they tried to stop me a couple of times, but with my persuasive techniques I was like, ‘Hey, let me finish, you’re going to love me, and we’re going to get this done and I’m going to have me an N64.’ I ended up doing a lot more chores than I thought I was going to do, but I got it.
DH: How do you think you will be feeling the morning of the draft? Big breakfast? Too nervous to eat?
CJ: I’m probably going to have an amazing breakfast. I’m going to have a super pallet of fruits. Pineapples, watermelons, strawberries, grapes — green and red — I like them both. From there I’ll probably have a couple of eggs poached. If I can have some Hollandaise sauce on them I’m good. (laughs) I’m going to feast, for real. I cook for myself at home, and I do pretty well.
DH: Sounds delicious.
CJ: (laughs) I don’t know where I’m going to be — I don’t know if I’m going to be in Arizona or New York, since I haven’t got an official invitation to New York. I just know that I want my family around me.
DH: Do you have your suit picked out if you do go to New York?
CJ: Oh, it will be ready. I’ll be ready for sure.