NAME: Dre’Mont Jones
SCHOOL: Ohio State
POSITION: Defensive tackle
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 86
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
Get-off/Burst – Really good first step to challenge blockers right off the snap. Will occasionally be late off the ball, but the majority of the time shows good quickness to penetrate. Rare speed up the field to challenge the mobility of opposing blockers. Can vary his pace a little bit to surprise blockers with bursts of action, wish he did this a little more often.
Leverage – Pad level is disappointing most of the time. Already has a built-in leverage advantage due to being 6-foot-2, but fails to use it too often, standing straight up and getting carried off down the line of scrimmage. Double teams are an issue. Consistently caught high off the snap and struggles to control or detach from blockers as a result. Needs to do a better job of dropping his pads when he corners his opponent as a rusher.
Hand Usage – As a pass rusher, Jones has flashed a nasty cross chop, a swim, push-pulls moves and the ability to rip through contact to the quarterback. His hands need more nuance in terms of timing and variety, but he shows great suddenness to surprise opponents with quick assaults. As a run defender, hand usage is a significant weakness, doesn’t strike with authority or control his opponent’s chest (and therfore the line of scrimmage) like you would hope. Has to get better at working off of blocks with more authoritative hand usage.
Rush Plan/Counters – Has flashed the ability to string moves together on his way to the quarterback, but inconsistency still exists. At times is uncreative with his plan of attack, while in other games seemed to work into a more natural flow. Counters still don’t come readily, but he does have a nice spin move that could be a go-to for him in the NFL. Footwork could be better when transitioning to half-man, will plant too far outside his opponent, widening his angle rather than trimming tightly to the blocker’s frame.
Mental Processing/Block Recognition – Improved a little bit this season at recognizing and holding his gap against zone schemes, but in general this is an area of weakness for Jones. He needs to find the football through contact and hold the point-of-attack much better in the NFL than he did in college. Allows himself to get too deep into the backfield and fails to stay square to the line of scrimmage, beating himself in 1v1 exchanges and leaving gaping holes for teammates to defend.
Range – Unbelievably rare range for an interior defensive lineman. Can open up and run for pursuit plays that few can make, while also showing the ability to make plays in space against more athletic ball carriers. Quarterbacks outside of the pocket are not safe.
Bend/Flexibility – Needs to do a better job of dropping his pads to finish rushes or challenge half-man on twists, but overall has the ability to bend tough angles to get in on the action. Flexible athlete who should test well in the 3-cone and potentially has some ability to play situationally on the edge at the next level.
Tackling – Didn’t notice any major issues here. Not a big hitter by any stretch of the imagination, but has the length and strength to get runners on the ground 1v1. Ability to finish in space due to athleticism and body control is impressive.
Competitive Toughness – So I think Jones is extremely competitive and plenty tough, but his preferred style of play is definitely more finesse. He’s far from the type of defensive lineman who will maul opponents physically, but he’s not out here playing scared either.
Athleticism/Size – Carries no bad weight and desirable measurables, but may need to add bulk in the NFL. Not much junk in the trunk, not sure he’ll hit 295 pounds. Outstanding all-around athlete who should destroy the Combine.
BEST TRAIT – Athleticism
WORST TRAIT – Run Defense
RED FLAGS – None
The dichotomy of Jones’ skill set should make him one of the more polarizing evaluations in the 2019 NFL Draft class. On one hand he’s a special athlete with rare movement skills and a quickly-developing repertoire of rush moves, but on the other hand he struggles mightily as a run defender, from recognizing blocks to getting off of them to holding the point of attack.
Jones may need to put on some weight to play inside in the NFL, which could lead to some discussion on whether he should shed a few pounds and play on the edge, where he will see less double teams and have an easier time staying clean. I’m not sure I see that position switch in the cards for Jones just yet, but if he ends up at the Senior Bowl (December graduate), hopefully we will see him play a couple different positions to get a feel for where he might fit best in the NFL. If it is on the interior as expected, Jones’ value will be determined by which teams are willing to live with his deficiencies as a run defender in favor of what he can become on long/late downs.
Competitive Toughness –Skills fall on either end of the spectrum. Effort, hustle and pursuit skills are top tier, moves like a linebacker in the open field. That said, functional strength and ability to hold the point of attack is compromised by frustrating lack of stun and poor lower body strength while playing on the interior.
Two Gap Ability –Is not going to offer a franchise anything in the way of stacking blocks. Needs to be playing forward, stalemates at the LOS will result in loss of leverage and bubbles at the point of attack for ball carriers to zip through. Not in his skill set.
Gap Penetration Skills –Ample burst to release through gaps and possesses the range to challenge the mesh point when coiled and driving through the gap. Strong ability to collect himself, redirect and shift his momentum and play to the football. Needs to play with lower center of gravity to reduce impact of lateral contact.
Tackling –Terrific closing burst and agility to mirror ball carriers when he’s got them cornered or pinned down behind the line of scrimmage. Does not have prototypical length or frame, however. Requires clean challenges and struggles to get off of bodies late to challenge the ball.
Flexibility –Has elite lateral tilt and torso mobility to lean through turns and pivots with speed. Terrific lower body mobility to plant and redirect his momentum in pursuit of the football. Leverage issues arise from a lack of hip drop and pad lean when firing forward, needs to get the pads down and under blockers.
Pass Rush Counters –Has a nasty cross-chop to discard of blocker’s hands and successfully hits his landmarks at the wrist/forearm to pop hands clear. Follows his counters with club and surface reduction to slip through spaces. Understands how to read quick sets and has one hell of a knack for finding creases.
First Step Quickness –Elite. Very sudden at the snap of the ball and gains awesome ground to spring forward and throw himself into a gap. Plays with burst *and* control. Can be late with his reaction to the snap at times but natural explosiveness serves as a good mask to allow him to generate pressure.
Feet/Change Of Direction –Light footed and is fully capable of pivoting around a blocker in a phone booth. Short area agility to shoot across the face of a blocker and crash through interior gap is effective and allows for crash reps to wash out an inside gap.
Versatility –Can be played on the outside as a rusher in certain packages, but will not be called upon for short yardage reps or be played anywhere other than the 3T in an even front of a 5T in an odd front. Lacks anchor and physicality to play on high snap frequency and will need to pick his spots.
BEST TRAIT – First Step Quickness
WORST TRAIT – Two Gap Ability
BEST FILM – Texas Christian (2018)
WORST FILM – Wisconsin (2017)
RED FLAGS – None
Dre’Mont Jones projects as a rush specialist at the next level. Jones’ first step quickness and hand counters are elite skills that will lend themselves favorably to an impact role. That said, it’s difficult to forecast an every down role for Jones, given his lack of anchor and issues in defending the run. Jones’ best bet for an every down role lies in going to a single gap penetration scheme. Not a one size fits all type of prospect and will require a specific vision.
Run Defense – Does well to shoot gaps and find his way into the backfield. Lacks the power and mass to anchor and win at the point of attack with consistency. Gets blasted out of his gap in drive block situations. Lacks functional strength and high pads exacerbate this issue. Not reliable to maintain his run fits.
Pass Rush – Has some variety with his hand techniques to grease rush angles and create rush lanes. Excellent burst off the snap and puts stress on offensive lineman to slide and stay square. Illustrates the ability to string together moves and clear contact to pressure the quarterback. Vision and timing of his moves is inconsistent.
Effort – Plays with a consistently hot motor and snap to snap effort is excellent. Has some negative reps but it’s not because he isn’t competing. Puts the heat on offensive lineman to keep pace with him and shoots gaps with urgency.
Hand Technique – Illustrates a wide variety of pass rushing moves and the ability to string them together to pressure the quarterback. Limited ability to stun blockers and control at the point of attack. Works overtime to clear his pads once an offensive lineman has the clamps set.
Flexibility – Illustrates good flexibility throughout his frame that enables him to corner angles, carry speed through turns and change directions fluidly. Able to work laterally with ease and is an overall smooth operator. Can spring his body against his momentum to challenge ball carriers bursting by him.
Play Strength – Competes but he is lacking power throughout his frame. Does himself no favors by not playing with better leverage. Too frequently gets blasted out of his gap and he struggles to hold up at the point of attack. Does not convert speed to power well.
Play Speed – Has plenty of juice and twitch in his get off to challenge blockers and often beats them to their edges before they can move laterally. Features outstanding closing speed when he has an angle and contact is cleared. Has outstanding range and can close distances.
Lateral Movement – Has no issues working down the line of scrimmage and making an impact in a large radius. Easily redirects and changes directions. Can string out wide runs and flow towards the sideline with ease.
Versatility – Projects as a three-technique in a 4-3 alignment with exciting pass rushing upside but major concerns as a run defender. Has situationally played on the edge in college and has some ability to do so at the next level. Not a candidate for two-gapping duties on account of limited play strength and inability to play with extension.
BEST TRAIT – Gap shooting
WORST TRAIT – Power at the POA
RED FLAGS – Play Strength
Jones features an exciting interior pass rushing skill set where his burst, flexibility and variety of moves leads to consistent pressure on the quarterback. While that holds considerable value, his run stopping ability raises major concerns. Jones struggles to hold up at the point of attack and is easily driven out of gaps. Adding play strength, playing with better extension and leverage will be critical for him to be more than a situational player at the next level. He does find success shooting gaps on run downs, but there are too many instances of him not maintaining his run fit. He may not play a high volume of snaps at the next level but he should be a valuable commodity on long and late downs.