D.J. Jones, DT, Ole Miss: 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Sep 17, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Joshua Jacobs (25) attempts to break the tackle of Mississippi Rebels defensive tackle D.J. Jones (93) during the second quarter of the game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Jones is out to prove he can be a major part of a strong defensive class in this 2017 NFL draft. Does his scouting report back him up?

Position:  DT

School:  Ole Miss

Year:  Senior

Height:  6’1″

Weight:  319 lbs

 

STRENGTHS:

  • His natural leverage and solid mass allows him to hold the point of attack against the run when he uses his hands properly. Rarely driven back.

This video showcases much of what Jones can do well. A number of times he’s able to fluster the quarterback into tucking the football. Others he battles double teams in order to hold his ground, allowing teammates to make a play on the ball. Has the feel of a player who isn’t productive on the stat sheet but does a lot of the dirty work.

  • Quicker than some people think. Able to move on stunts to the left or right, often finding creases to get into the backfield and provide pressure.
  • Actually faster than he looks. While no long distance runner, Jones has some closing burst that allows him to give chase to ball carriers and QBs outside the pocket.
  • When he uses his hands right, he has the ability to disengage from blocks or deliver some solid setup moves for his pass rush.

WEAKNESSES:

  • His size and length are average for the defensive tackle position. His success at the next level will depend heavily on the type of system he’s in.
  • Not overly quick off the snap. Typically the last one out of his stance, making it difficult for him to have a proper impact on plays.
  • Pass rush doesn’t have much in the way of surges. If his initial burst is stonewalled, he doesn’t show the lower body strength to overcome it.
  • Inconsistent hand use leads to being controlled too often by blockers. Has led to one too many runs right through the gaps he had a chance to shut down.

Pro Comparison:  Will Sutton

He wasn’t the standout interior pass rusher many envisioned, but Sutton still found a role with the Chicago Bears the past few years. He’s a sturdy presence up front who can clog lanes and gives lots of effort when having his pass rush chances. Not much production but good depth. Jones has the same body type and hidden strength that could turn into a decent career.

Projection:  5th Round

There is some hidden potential with Jones. Much of it is tied to whether he can improve his snap anticipation and perfect the use of his hands. Scheme will prove crucial to his development. Put him in an aggressive system where he’s allow to attack up the field, he might end up surprising people thanks to his quickness and deceptive strength.

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