Name: DaQuan Jones
College: Penn State
Stats: 48 tackles, 3 sacks
Projected Rounds: 3-4
The first game I'm going to look at is Penn State against Syracuse. This game took place on August 31, 2013. Jones registered 1 tackle and 1 sack in this game (also, does anyone remember in some of the old madden's it was possible for your defensive end to have more sacks than tackles? That was quite the oddity).
I think the very first thing I noticed was his how well he uses his hands. He is able to efficiently shed blocks and get into the backfield. If he's actually 320 pounds, he's incredibly quick, extremely athletic and appears to be very fast as well. He's got an incredible burst, and is in the backfield on almost every passing down. He displays an array of moves including great use of his hands, a swim move, a spin move, he slashes, and he bull rushes. He gets consistent pressure on the QB, despite taking on double teams almost every play.
However, he is borderline terrible in the running game. For someone who is 320 pounds, when the ball is handed off, he is constantly pushed 2-4 yards off the line of scrimmage. He gets double teamed quite a bit, but that's not an excuse. He needs to be able to hold up at the point of attack on running downs, and it just doesn't look like he's capable of doing that. While he does use his hands well, he still gets destroyed in the running game. At first glance, Jones appears to be a very bi-polar prospect.
The next game I'm going to look at is Penn State against Michigan. This game took place on October 12, 2013. Jones tallied 9 tackles and 0 sacks in this game.
This game is a little bit of a mixed bag as well. Immediately, you can see his explosiveness. He somehow manages to beat a running back to the edge, even though the running back had some space. Yes, he wasn't touched as he blew up the play, but the point is his athletic ability. He also does a much better job holding up at the point of attack. Michigan's offensive line seems like its much better than Syracuse's, but Jones is able to take on single blocks and double teams and flow towards the play, shutting down the run before it gets started. He is very impressive against the run in this game. He takes on multiple blocks and uses his hands to get free.
Where he isn't as impressive is in the passing game. He fails to get significant pressure on almost every down, unlike the Syracuse game. This is true, even when he only gets single blocked. However, he still gets good pressure throughout the game. I'm not saying he doesn't get consistent pressure, just not as consistent in the first game. He's able to beat single and double teams. He is very active, and never gives up on plays. By the end of the game, he is constantly fighting off double teams. He also goes to the right end position, and wins the battle there. He seems to be able to hold his own on both running and passing plays.
The final game I'm going to look at is from 2012. I had to look up Jordan Hill to find it. It's Wisconsin against Penn State.
Alright, so, it looks like my original assessment of Jones was wrong. He isn't bad against the run. He holds up really well at the point of attack. Wisconsin runs the ball an insane amount, and he always manages to keep himself close to the line of scrimmage, and flow towards the play. In this game he was double teamed a lot, sometimes triple teamed, and he was still able to hold up. He seems to be very disciplined, and doesn't over pursue much, if at all. He does a great job with his pad level, keeping it lower than the opposing lineman. That gives him great leverage, and allows him to consistently win one on one battles.
However, he does have a slight issue with balance. He ends up on his back a little too often. He needs to be able to maintain his balance when he is contorted in weird positions. He also isn't an elite level run defender or pass rusher. He's good at both. He seems to be very good at stopping the run, and a good pass rusher.
Overall, I think very highly of DaQuan Jones. He is incredibly athletic for his size, and exhibits great strength with an array of moves. He seems to have solid awareness and fundamentals. He also has the stuff you cannot teach: a great burst, incredible athleticism, quickness, strength, and speed. While I lack the knowledge to tell you what else he needs to develop to become an elite level pass rusher or run stopper, I think he has the ability. I'm actually very high on DaQuan Jones now that I've seen him in action. I would be very happy if the Bears took him in the second round.