Player Profile #81 – TE Jordan Cameron

For every player that comes into the NFL Draft, there is a back story, the travels and travails of their life that brought them to the point of entry into professional football.

Few are as interesting as Jordan Cameron’s tale, going from college basketball player, to college wide receiver, to college tight end. Along the way he kept things going thanks to his athletic ability and a great deal of help from his sporting family.

Here’s his story.


FAMILY MATTERS

Jordan Cameron

Born – August 7, 1988, in Newbury Park, California.

Family – He’s the third of four children. Parents are Stan and Cathy Cameron, with older sisters Emily and Brynn and younger brother Colby. Dad is a partner in Netlink Financial, Inc., a financial services company. Parents met as students at Brigham Young University. Jordan’s grandfather Jack Cravens (1957-59) played basketball and baseball at BYU. Colby Cameron is a QB at Louisiana Tech, competing for the starting job this fall as a redshirt junior. He’s played in 15 games and started three for the Bulldogs over two seasons. Sister Brynn Cameron was a guard on the Southern Cal women’s basketball team who earned All-Pac 10 Freshman honors and completed her eligibility in 2009 with the Women of Troy. She is also the mother of Cole Leinart, the son of former Southern Cal QB Matt Leinart – the two dated for about a year, but then broke up.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-feet, 5 ¼ inches.
  • Weight – 254 pounds.
  • Arm – 33 ½ inches
  • Hand – 9 ¾ inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.53 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.57 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.53 seconds.
  • Bench press – 23 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 37 ½ inches.
  • Broad jump – 9-feet, 11 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Cameron was part of the class of 2006 at Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park, California. The school is part of the Conejo Valley School District at the western end of the San Fernando Valley in the far flung suburbs of Los Angeles.

He didn’t really turn to football until his junior season, when he joined the team halfway through the schedule but still earned All-League honors. He returned for a full season in 2005 and ended up being named the Ventura County Player of the Year.

It was basketball where Cameron excelled, working as a 6-5 swing man who could play guard and forward. He was known for his hard-nosed style of play and earned back to back first-team All-Marmonte League honors as a junior and senior.

He also played volleyball for the Panthers.

FOOTBALL

2005 – In his senior season, Cameron caught 73 passes for 1,022 yards and 12 TDs in winning the Ventura County Player of the Year honors

20004 – He grabbed eight TD passes in just five games as a wide receiver in his junior season. It was basketball where

BASKETBALL

2005-06 – Cameron averaged 21.1 points per game as a senior for the Panthers, along with averaging 7.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3 steals.

2004-05 – As a junior, he averaged 18.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals

RECRUITING

Utah, Utah State, New Mexico, Southern Cal, California-Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Harvard, Yale, Davidson and Brigham Young all showed interest in Cameron and offered scholarship in either football or basketball. Eventually, he chose his parents and grandfather’s alma mater of BYU.

COLLEGE

Cameron is currently majoring in sociology at the University of Southern California.

Brigham Young University

Signed on a basketball scholarship at BYU, but he redshirted for the 2006-07 season. He then announced on June 12, 2007 that he was transferring to Southern Cal to play football. With that is a story.

Jordan Cameron accompanied his younger brother Colby Cameron to an unofficial visit to work out and meet with the Trojans coaching staff and head man Pete Carroll. After the workout, Carroll reportedly offered Jordan Cameron a scholarship on the spot, despite the fact he was still under a scholarship to BYU. In fact, it’s a violation of NCAA regulations that Jordan Cameron even took part in a workout on the campus of another school other than USC.

Ventura (Junior) College

When credits for several of his religion courses from BYU would not transfer to Southern Cal, Cameron was forced to spend a year at Ventura College, where he played football and basketball.

He was a 2007 All-Western State Conference pick as tight end, catching 22 passes for 348 yards with five TDs. The Pirates went 8-3 on the season.

University of Southern California

In 2008 he finally landed on Southern Cal’s campus as a 220-pound wide receiver that had not caught a pass in three years. He worked largely as a reserve WR and also did some work at tight end.

2010 – Cameron was moved to tight end at the suggestion of new coach Lane Kiffin and he ended up playing in 12 games, catching 16 passes for 126 yards and one TD.

2009 – Working as a reserve WR, Cameron appeared in five games.

2008 – He played in six games with no catches. After football season was over, he joined the USC basketball team and finished out their season with them.

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – A very good overall athlete who scored in the top three at his position in just about every physical test given at the NFL Combine. With his combination of size and speed, and his hand-eye coordination, he has big-play potential. For a guy that caught just 16 passes in the last five years, he’s got remarkable natural hands and catches the ball with them, rather than his body. He shows quick, light feet and nice agility to shake defenders and create separation coming out of his breaks. Plus, he can stretch the field with good straight-line speed and second gear. Cameron has great leaping ability, body control and timing to catch the ball at its highest point.

Weaknesses – His limited actual playing time and the late position switch to TE makes it difficult to project just how much upside Cameron has. He will definitely need to add some bulk in order to be an effective run blocker, something he did not show at Southern Cal. Very inconsistent in running his routes, he rounds off his routes and takes too long getting into and out of the patterns. Raw as raw could be as a receiver, and will need a lot of work there.

Analysis – It’s doubtful that Cameron can find a home in the NFL as a pure tight end; he just doesn’t have the experience and physical size to be a consistent in-line blocker. That will put him in a role as a flexed TE or an H-Back. He has a lot of upside and will attract teams with his physical package of height, speed and hands but overall awareness, blocking, and tenacity are not adequate.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

One AFC scout said – “Considering what other basketball types have done playing tight end, there’s no way to totally discount this guy. I don’t think we would use a draft choice to select him, but would highlight him as a priority free agent. With the labor situation not allowing free agents, then if you want him, you are going to have to draft him.”

One NFC scout said – “Too far to go. He’s got athletic ability and some skills, but he needs a developmental league. Too bad NFL Europe is gone.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

“They tried me at different positions. They put me out wide, put me inside and that’s what I came here to do. I’m pretty athletic, I’m a big guy and I can create some mismatches.”

WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY

Southern Cal QB Matt Barkley – “He wants to play, whether it’s lining up in the backfield or splitting out to receiver or playing tight end. He just wants reps. He’s a big body. There are situations where he just boxes people out and goes up and gets those jump balls. Jordan had a great day today and it’s cool to see him mold into that hybrid H-back.”

HOW DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

It’s hard to picture a scenario where Jordan Cameron would fit in the Chiefs puzzle. Pioli loves tight ends, but this guy is years away from being a polished tight end in any fashion, whether catching or blocking. It would be hard to imagine the Chiefs investing anything higher than a seventh-round choice in him.

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