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  • Rock Hoffman


Temple linebacker Layton Jordan knows he will need to take a tougher road to the NFL, but is willing to grind it out to get there. Photo by Jesse Garber

At the start of the 2023 season, there were 11 former Temple Owls on NFL rosters with six more on practice squads or injured reserve lists. 

With preparation for the 2024 NFL Draft well underway, Layton Jordan hopes to join those former Owls in the pros.

At Temple, he was an outside linebacker and projects as an edge rusher at the next level. 

He had a breakout season as a redshirt junior in 2022 earning second-team All-AAC honors with nine sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss, a pair of interception returns for touchdowns, and another score on a fumble recovery.

Those numbers slipped in his senior year to 2.5 sacks and 3.5 TFLs as the Owls struggled in their second season under head coach Stan Drayton.

Recently, at the Tropical Bowl, a college All-Star game played in Orlando, Jordan was the Black team’s defensive MVP. He looked like the Jordan of 2022 with a strip-sack and recovery which he took in for a touchdown.

“After the season I had,” said Jordan, “it put me back on the map and showed them that I still have a lot of love for the game.”

At 6-2, 220, Jordan is a little on the light side for the position in the NFL, by comparison, former Owl Haason Reddick, of the Eagles, is 6-1, 240. 

To work on that, Jordan, who is from McKeesport, PA which is near Pittsburgh is training at Grossetti Performance, which is in New Castle, a town about an hour north of the Steel City. 

They boast a lengthy list of players who have trained there which includes three players who have been invited to this year’s NFL Combine. 

They are Andre Sam, a safety from LSU, Marshall running back Rasheen Ali, and Ryan Cooper, an Oregon State defensive back.

“I’m working on gaining weight and body mass.” Jordan recently told FootballStories during a phone call after a workout. “Also, I’m focused on more upper body strength. 

"At the Tropical Bowl, the scouts told me to do the little things. So, that’s what I’m working on, to be a better me.”

Jordan’s strength is his speed and quickness.

“I can be a helping hand anywhere on the field,” he emphasized.

Along those lines, many late-round picks or free agents make a team because they can play on special teams. 

Take Matthew Slater, of the New England Patriots, he is listed as a wide receiver but in 239 career games, has played in 240 snaps (including four on defense) from scrimmage while participating in almost 3,600 special team plays. 

He made the Pro Bowl team 10 times and was All-Pro five times as a special teamer.

Jordan is very aware that this could be his path.

“All of my NFL friends tell me, ‘Make it on special teams,’ he said. “So that's what I've been harping on too.”

Despite the Tropical Bowl rosters being filled with potential rivals for a roster spot Jordan described it as friendly competition.

“They were helping me on things I didn’t learn in my development,” said Jordan, who was one of seven Owls invited to one of the postseason showcases. “Everybody was coaching and picking up each other, fixing a problem before it becomes a bigger problem.”

If Jordan doesn’t get selected and enters the league as an undrafted free agent, being the underdog isn’t something he’s unfamiliar with.

“Ever since I was a little kid,” he said, “I’ve always been the person that hit the ground harder than others because growing up, I didn’t have as much as others. I basically always had a chip on my shoulder and showed them actions speak louder than words so they can feel me, instead of hearing me.” *


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