Datone Jones DE UCLA #56
Size/Athleticism: Rare blend of size and athleticism. Could line up anywhere on the defensive line, but would be best suited as a three-technique tackle or a 3-4 end.
Run Defense: Impressive ability to shed blocks on the interior. Blend of strength and quickness allows to him shed the blocker and quickly slip through the line. Struggles to hold up at the point of attack at times, especially when double teamed off the snap. He’s not an ideal defensive tackle to be lined up in short-yardage situations. Does a great job fighting through traffic when the play is away from him and typically gives a solid effort in pursuit. Needs to improve the angles he takes in pursuit in the open field.
Pass Rush: Over-commits to the pass rush sometimes, and will get caught out of position by a draw or screen. Needs to do a better job keeping his eyes in the backfield to pick up on these delayed plays. Doesn’t show many pass-rush moves. Almost exclusively relies on the bull rush. He’ll force his way into the backfield fairly consistently due to his size and quickness, but there will be some NFL interior lineman that simply have the strength to overpower him.
Versatility: Experience at tackle in the 4-3 scheme. Shifted to end in the 3-4 scheme under Jim Mora. Could play just about any spot on the defensive line at the next level and may be athletic enough to line up at linebacker in certain situations in the 3-4 scheme. Even played some nose tackle as a senior in the 3-4. In a 4-3 scheme, he will be an asset as an interior pass-rusher, but will be a liability at times against the run due to his struggles at the point of attack. He should draw serious interest from teams running a hybrid scheme.
Intangibles: Is he a one-year wonder? Didn’t show legitimate NFL potential until his senior year. Was is a result him playing for an NFL contract, or did he finally put it all together under the new coaching regime?
Durability: Missed entire 2010 season with a broken foot.
Comments: Jones is an intriguing prospect who should receive a wide range of grades based on the defensive scheme of each team. A team running a hybrid scheme should fall in love with his versatility. He doesn’t really stand out in any one area, which limits his upside somewhat in a more traditional defense, but an innovative defensive coordinator could really take advantage of his versatility and turn him into something special.