DT Justin Jones, North Carolina St.

6’2” – 312 lbs. – 5.09

Profile:

  • Rotated into the defense over ten games as a true freshman, then started three of thirteen games the following year. Became a full-time starting tackle in 2016, and reprised that role as a senior.

Positives:

  • Thick, well-built one-technique nose tackle who plays the game with aggression and physicality; good development throughout his frame, with a thick lower body. Fires out of his stance low and does a good job of using his bull rush to generate push against opposing linemen. Stout at the point of attack; can dig in and hold his ground at the line when defending the run. Has good instincts to flow toward the ball, and a high motor to make tackles in pursuit. Scrapes down the line in congested areas. Active with his hands as a pass-rusher and often stayed on the field in passing situations; at the very least, is capable of occupying blockers to free up opportunities for his teammates. Also has some experience flipping over to the three-technique spot. Sniffs out screens effectively.

Negatives:

  • Somewhat inconsistent get-off when reacting to the ball being snapped. Bull rush often starts well but can die off because his legs stop driving, allowing opponents to recover. A little bit limited as a pass-rusher; pretty active with his hands, but doesn’t always appear to have much of a plan and often ends up around the line of scrimmage. Could get his hands up to contest passing lanes with more consistency. Gives effort but doesn’t really have the athleticism to make it to the sidelines in pursuit. May be considered a little bit scheme-limited; could draw some interest as either a nose tackle in an odd front or an under tackle in an even front, but looks like a pretty clear one-technique on a four-man line.

Summary:

  • Not one of the sexier defensive tackles in this year’s class, but a pretty good prospect who offers a thick build with natural power, good instincts to flow toward the ball in the run game, and a high motor to maximize his skillset. Those traits should make him a mid-round pick. Figures to begin his career as a reserve/rotational interior lineman and could possibly develop into more with time. That said, may never be the type of dynamic penetrator some teams look for.
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