2013 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Datone Jones, DE/DT, UCLA

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Today's 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile looks at Datone Jones of UCLA, a talented player who might be considered a 'tweener as it isn't obvious what position he is best suited for in the NFL.

We're almost at the point where we have looked at all conceivable options for the New York Giants with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. One player who is at least a player that could possibly be drafted in the the latter parts of the first round and possibly appeal to the Giants is defensive linemen Datone Jones from the UCLA Bruins who has had an excellent pre-draft process. Let's discuss Jones with today's 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile.

Jones is a player who burst on the scene as a true sophomore in 2009 with 11 tackles for loss and four sacks, but in 2010 he suffered a broken foot and missed the entire season. His 2011 season was ordinary while he was still recovering from his broken foot, but he turned into a dominant player in 2012.

[Complete SB Nation Draft Coverage]

Pros

Looks every bit the part as he measured in at the combine at a ripped 6-foot-4, 283 pounds. He showcases good speed off the ball and is very functionally strong, which he uses to his advantage bull rushing and in the run game. Jones uses his hands well and has good closing speed. He is a very good open-field tackler.

[Big Blue View 2013 NFL Draft Big Board]

Cons

His scheme versatility is a problem entering the NFL. He doesn't have the exceptional first step and bend to be a consistently productive pass rusher as a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. He also doesn't have the huge size to be a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme, but he could add more weight to play there. Right now he's probably best as a 4-3 DE in a front like the Seattle Seahawks to play like Red Bryant does, or as a DE in a 3-4 scheme. He CAN play any of those positions and eventually be very good at it, but teams will have to decide where they want him to play and at what weight as he's kind of stuck in between right now.

Player comparison: Corey Redding (NFL.com)

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Does He Fit With The Giants?

He could, but I think his best fit is as a one gap 3-4 defensive end because he has length, athleticism, and strength. Right now he's a little light to be playing defensive tackle in a 4-3 front, but he could also be a very good player there as well. Teams just need to figure out where his best position is and let him do it because everything you hear/read is that he has high character, and on the field he does have a very nice combination of size/strength/speed.

Prospect Video

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Big Board Rankings

CBS Sports-19th

National Football Post-20th

Mocking the Draft-55th

Sports Illustrated-21st

Big Blue View Board-42nd

Final Thought

I have always thought of Jones as a fringe first-round prospect, early second-round prospect, I was unaware of how much his Senior Bowl and Combine helped his stock. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is watching beforehand as Jones was often considered a mid-round prospect in late November or early December. He is too big, strong, and fast for college offensive linemen to handle inside, or outside. He's a mismatch, but on the NFL level he doesn't have the same kind of instant talent mismatch, in fact, it's the opposite. He's a little too small inside, and he doesn't have the kind of flexibility and bend to consistently challenge NFL offensive linemen as a defensive end pass rusher. On a team like the Seahawks who run an unique 4-3 front with different responsibilities he could be a great fit and that's the place where I feel he fits best in the first round. There is definitely a position for Jones in the NFL, but he's going to have to alter his body some or play unconventionally at a position to find success. I'm just taken aback a little bit by him being ranked between 19th and 21st on three of the major media big boards, though I can see the appeal.

Follow me on twitter @NFLmocks

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