This ACC edge rusher has the skill set needed to be a premier prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
There is going to be a lot to like about the 2021 NFL Draft class. Assuming we see the expected prospects declare, this class will be loaded at some of the most important positions in the game. Led by Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Trey Lance, the quarterback position is in good hands. Penei Sewell leads an impressive group of offensive tackles and both cornerback and wide receiver will likely be loaded with top-tier talent and strong depth.
Simply put, the 2021 NFL Draft class will likely fit the modern NFL well, with plenty of talent at positions that directly impact the passing game. However, the one key position where there seems to be more unknown than the others is edge rushers.
There will certainly be plenty of talented edge rushers in the 2021 NFL Draft class, with Gregory Rousseau leading the way for most. However, it appears to be an extremely boom or bust group of prospects and that could certainly lead to a thin group when next April rolls around.
That being said, there are still plenty of edge rushers who are worth getting excited about. Today, we are going to talk about Patrick Jones II, an edge rusher out of Pittsburgh who we should all be keeping a close eye on.
Jones is a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end who took a major step forward in 2019. In his first year as a full-time starter at Pitt, Jones piled up 41 total tackles (11.5 for loss), 8.5 sacks and also forced four fumbles. He was a consistently strong presence on the edge last season and appears ready to take his game to the next level in 2020.
Jones shows a ton of initial burst out of his stance and plenty of flexibility around the corner. He is a quick and explosive player who can win with straight speed around the outside but also shows an impressive quick inside move as well. Jones’ natural athleticism immediately stands out on tape and will undoubtedly be an asset at the next level, but he pairs it with strong hands, long arms and great on-field awareness that gives him a strong overall game.
With an impressive combination of power and athleticism, Jones does a create job of creating consistent pressure on the quarterback. However, do not sleep on his ability to defend against the run. He sets the edge extremely well and does a great job of locating the ball and filling the gaps.
Simply put, Jones is a tough and talented player who shows an impressively well-rounded skill-set. There is a lot of unknown when it comes to the upcoming edge rusher class, but Jones is undoubtedly a player who we need to be watching. If he takes the next step, Jones could easily find himself as a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.