2021 NFL Draft: Naquan Jones is an exciting sleeper IDL to watch

2021 NFL Draft prospect, Naquan Jones (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
2021 NFL Draft prospect, Naquan Jones (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Defensive tackle Naquan Jones is an interesting 2021 NFL Draft prospect to keep an eye on.

Florida State’s Marvin Wilson will likely be the top interior defensive lineman in the 2021 NFL Draft class, with guys like Jaylen Twyman out of Pittsburgh and Christian Barmore out of Alabama not being too far behind. All three of these players will likely be first-round selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, but there are some potential hidden gems at the position who we should be keeping an eye on.

Today, we are going to take a look at one of those hidden gems, as we dig into Naquan Jones, a defensive tackle out of Michigan State. Jones is a big and powerful player who is listed at 6-foot-4, 338 pounds. He has been a three-year contributor at Michigan State and while he has yet to take on a full-time role, he has flashed some serious ability in his limited snaps.

With Raequan Williams and Mike Panasiuk moving on to the NFL, Michigan State will now turn to Jones as a full-time starter during the 2020 season. This is his opportunity to prove himself as a consistent contributor and if he does well, his 2021 NFL Draft stock could rise in a big way.

Jones is a big and powerful man who has long arms and incredible natural upper body strength. He is extremely powerful at the point of attack and uses his long arms and powerful hands well to create separation from the blocker. He shows tremendous natural block shed ability and can fill run gaps extremely well. Jones is a high-level two-gap defensive lineman who has a safe floor as a strong run defender at the next level.

While his size and power immediately stand out as the strength of his game, do not sleep on Jones’ ability to move as such a big man. He is relatively quick off of the ball and shows enough upfield burst to shine as a one-gap penetrator when asked to fill that role. He is never going to be an elite-level interior pass rusher, but he can slip through and make plays in the backfield at times.

When we try to project Jones to the next level, it is easy to look at him as only a two-down run defender with a limited ceiling. Personally, I look at Jones as a high-level run defender who is going to bring value to his NFL team in that department no matter what. On top of that, he has the quickness and agility to grow into at least a solid threat as an interior rusher on the inside.

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Simply put, Jones is an interesting prospect with a safe floor and some exciting potential on the interior. Keep an eye on him as the 2021 NFL Draft process continues to unfold.