Did the Browns find a hidden gem at the 2023 NFL Draft? Dawand Jones is making it look that way so far at training camp.
The mountainous Dawand Jones towered over the competition during his collegiate days. The Ohio State product is an astonishing 6-foot-8 and 374 pounds. Read that again. Even more, Jones boasts 36.5-inch arms and insane strength in his lower body.
Few Players In League History Compare To Dawand Jones Physically
The NFL has rarely seen a player with this build succeed in the league. Even with lengthy experience at a prestigious program, teams found it difficult to project Jones’ size to Sundays. This uncertainty resulted in the offensive lineman tumbling down draft boards. He somehow made it to Day 3 before general manager Andrew Berry pulled the trigger.
The decision to draft the Buckeye brute is already paying dividends for the Browns at training camp. After early reports stated Jones was out of shape to open practices, things have progressed positively by all accounts. Just look at the number of snaps the rookie played in Cleveland’s first preseason game.
He logged 35 pass-blocking reps and surrendered a grand total of zero sacks. The ability to protect his signal-caller is a trait that Jones has flexed consistently since his time in Columbus. In his final season on campus, Jones recorded 419 pass-blocking reps without allowing a sack.
The tape matches the production, as Jones showcased impressive agility and footwork for his size. As one of the biggest knocks to his game entering the draft, it is promising to see the youngster make such strides this early on. He single-handedly stifled the Jets’ pass rush while manning right tackle.
Browns Come Away Impressed With Jones’ Performance In The Hall Of Fame Game
In this clip, you see a few of Jones’ best plays from the Hall of Fame game. Notice his footwork off the snap and his ability to keep his arms extended when fending off pass rushers. At times in college, defenders could get into Jones’ chest and cause issues, but this wasn’t the case last Thursday night.
Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin are the favorites to start at left and right tackle, respectively. Wills is locked into the starting lineup through 2024, assuming he stays healthy. Conklin signed a juicy $60 million extension at the end of last season, creating a logjam of sorts for Jones.
The fourth-rounder is too big to play guard, in my opinion, so his rookie season might be nothing more than swing tackle duties. However, given how often Conklin has missed games with Cleveland, the Browns may require the added insurance of Jones at some point in the year.
Whether he becomes a starter in 2023, the future is promising for Dawand Jones. He has traits that cannot be taught, including his God-given frame. Jones should spend this season refining his game before challenging Conklin (or Wills) for a full-time gig in 2024. The Browns found something special at No. 112 overall.