DE Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh (6’5”, 260)

Background:

Played sparingly as a freshman, then rotated into the defense the following year and went 22-7.0-3.5. Became a major contributor starting in 2019, posting 41-11.5-8.5, then posted a nearly identical line as a senior: 42-12.5-9.0.

Positives:

Very well-built defensive end with excellent musculature. Had very consistent, high level output over the past two seasons. Takes snaps on both ends of the line, out of three- and four-point stances. Plays like his hair is on fire, with an excellent motor and plenty of violence to his game. Really explodes out of his stance, allowing him to collapse the pocket by converting speed to power on the edge. Overall functional strength is very good. Keeps his shoulders low and shows good quickness to make inside moves and weave through traffic. Showcases a very strong spin move, although he doesn’t use it particularly often. Has enough explosiveness in his hands to discard blockers. Flashes the ability to dip his shoulder around the edge. Has an excellent closing burst to finish his rushes when he’s in position. Effort, speed, and range in pursuit in the run game are all very good; capable of chasing backs out to the sidelines.

Negatives:

Can get too much depth in his initial rush, creating rushing lanes for opposing backs. Can be too reliant on his bull-rush despite having other viable approaches; would like to see more variety in his rushes. More explosive than he is fluid. Occasional balance issues crop up as he tries to bend around the corner; looks more comfortable the more direct the approach is, often getting stuck on blocks when opposing tackles can get enough depth in their kickslide to take away the initial speed move. Didn’t see him working out of a two-point stance or dropping into coverage much, although his size is in line with what teams look for as a stand-up ‘backer in an odd front. Not as much of a factor in the run game. Some teams may favor players with a more disciplined approach which maintains gap integrity in the run game.

Summary:

An explosive, violent defensive end whose game is reminiscent of other highly-regarded prospects such as Melvin Ingram, Dante Fowler, and Takkarist McKinley; perhaps no prospect in this year’s class is as good at putting opposing tackles on their back heels and using the bull rush to collapse the pocket and create pressure. Combined with the violent spin move he flashes, he could really be a force to be reckoned with at the pro level, although it would be nice to see him work in additional rush moves and bend the edge more comfortably. Looks like a pretty good bet to come off the board on the second  day.

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