Former Penn State University defensive lineman DaQuan Jones became a member of the Tennessee Titans when he was drafted in Round 4 of the 2014 NFL Draft, pick No. 112. Jones was a defensive lineman who some analysts had projected as a Round 2-3 pick. The Titans drafted him in rotation that doesn’t have a clear-cut favorite to anchor any nose tackle role. This means that Jones has an opportunity to earn playing time…and early.
What can fans expect from the big-bodied mauler? Victory Bell Rings lead editor Barry Leonard Jr. runs FanSided’s Penn State fan blog. Leonard Jr. has witnessed Jones’ entire football career. He knows Jones inside-out. Leonard Jr. has his own opinion on how Jones fits with Ray Horton‘s defense.
In this interview, Titan Sized editor Joshua Huffman asks Leonard Jr. five questions about the fourth-round prospect. These questions concern his strengths, weaknesses, character, schematic fit, and more.
Titan Sized: Joshua Huffman (editor)
Victory Bell Rings: Barry Leonard (lead editor)
Titan Sized: Give us a breakdown of DaQuan Jones that includes his major strengths and weaknesses.
Victory Bell Rings: Jones has a big body (322 pounds) and tremendous strength. That combination of size and strength makes him a force in the interior of the defensive line. He’s a proven run-stopper who can clog the lanes and spends a lot of time disrupting plays in the backfield. He’s shown versatility throughout his career playing at defensive tackle and even filling in at times at end. Out of high school he was a highly-recruited offensive lineman before switching sides. His biggest weakness is his lack of pass-rushing moves and lack of a motor. He doesn’t move well from sideline to sideline. He also has the reputation of taking plays off and has shown some conditioning problems at times, but did drop 15 pounds before his senior season.
Titan Sized: Two of the Titans’ six draft picks include Taylor Lewan and Zach Mettenberger. Some fans were turned off from these selections because of character concerns. Does Jones have any type of positive or negative character traits that fans should know about?
Victory Bell Rings: He was never in trouble while at Penn State and has no apparent off-field red flags. He overcame a very difficult childhood (having a mother go to jail and being homeless). He was a great teammate who’ll be a great fit with the Titans. Some NFL teams shied away from him due to the appearance he took some plays off, especially when the play wasn’t close to him. I didn’t see it happen often and besides, that’s something that someone fighting for an NFL roster spot should be able to quickly change.
Titan Sized: Does Jones’ skill-set translate to playing nose tackle in a hybrid 3-4 defense? What’s his best schematic fit?
Victory Bell Rings: Jones played in a 4-3 while in college. While that’s his strong point, he’s got the size to play in the middle of the line and should be able to transition to a 3-4 or a hybrid scheme. He’ll be an asset to the run defense and in my opinion is a perfect fit for the Tennessee defense. His ability transfers well to both schemes.
Titan Sized: There’s a hope among many that Jones can start or at least become a significant contributor during his rookie season. From what you’ve seen of him at Penn State, is it realistic to expect much from him so quickly?
Victory Bell Rings: After sitting for two years, his first year as a starter in 2012 was very productive. Like I said, he’s a versatile defensive tackle who already has a knack for stopping the run. It may take him a few games to get accustomed to the new scheme and the speed of the NFL game. While I don’t expect fantastic results right away, I can see him cracking the starting lineup at some point and starting a very productive career.
Titan Sized: Anything you’d like to add about Jones
Victory Bell Rings: The Titans could end up getting a steal with Jones in the fourth round. At one time, he was considered one of the best defensive tackles coming out of college. He had a stellar senior season and was Penn State’s best defensive player for the year. While the numbers may never be spectacular, he’ll be very productive and a solid, important part of the defense for years to come.
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