Jordan Suell is finding ways to best pass the time amid a pandemic.
But you’ll rarely find the Vancouver native and ex-Fort Vancouver High School standout binge-watching TV shows, or spending countless hours in front of a video-game console. Because when you’ve been preparing for this week’s NFL Draft, as Suell has done, workouts and training sessions are a better way to pass the time over staying sedentary.
“It’s been my daily thing the past four months,” said Suell, 22. “It’s pretty exciting. I’m thankful for everything that happened. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of.”
Following a football career playing wide receiver at NAIA Southern Oregon University that includes top-10 all-time career marks for touchdown catches and receiving yards, Suell hopes to live out of his dream of starting a pro football career. The three-day NFL Draft starts Thursday.
While the world feels like it’s slowed down recently, Suell hasn’t. He graduated in December with a degree in business marketing and has been back in Vancouver training ever since. But when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled his pro day March 13 at Portland State, Suell did the next-best thing to stay active on teams’ radars.
With the assistance of trainers, he created his own pro day by providing a nearly 8-minute-long video highlighting testing measurables and route-running. It includes a 4.49 40-yard time, 37-inch vertical, a 10-foot-4 broadjump, and bench pressing 225 pounds 18 times.
“We pretty much did that so we could get all my stuff out there to every team and show them what I can do,” Suell said.
For James Ensley, Suell’s high school basketball coach, it’s no surprise to see Suell get to this stage.
“He has something most kids don’t,” Ensley said. “He passes the eye-ball test.”
At Fort, Suell was an all-league football and basketball standout. Quarterbacking the Trappers for three seasons is how he got Southern Oregon’s attention, a program fresh off a 2014 NAIA national championship.
But instead of throwing passes in college, he caught them.
Suell switched to receiver once at SOU, and quickly learned how to best utilize his nearly 6-foot-6 frame and athleticism playing a new position. He finished fourth in career touchdowns (27) and is the 10th SOU player to accumulate 2,000-plus career receiving yards (2,184). SOU went 4-7 in 2019, but Suell ranked eighth in all of NAIA with 12 receiving TDs, including eight the final five games.
As it turned out, Southern Oregon unearthed a hidden gem in Suell.
“It took a few years to get comfortable,” he said, “and to know the little tricks and things it takes to be a receiver. I worked hard … it took time, but it all worked out.”
And worked out in a big way. Suell got the attention of NFL teams when he tested and interviewed with two organizations at last spring’s Junior Day at Southern Oregon. Since then, Suell said he’s heard from the Chargers, Dolphins, Redskins, and said his agent has been in talks with the Bills.
No NAIA players were taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, but four players from NAIA schools made NFL rosters at some point in 2018. As a big target from a small school, Suell is eager to have another chance to be a hidden gem.
This time as a pro prospect.
“It doesn’t matter where you go,” he said. “As long as you have the skills and the ability to put up stats, I think they’ll find you no matter where you’re at.”