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2016 NFL Draft: Speedy LB Deion Jones right for New York Giants?

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LSU linebacker Deion Jones is one of the more athletic linebackers in the 2016 draft. If the Giants don't address their linebacking corps earlier, could he help them cover the middle of the field?

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The NFL is a copy-cat league, and 30 teams just saw two phenomenal defenses that featured ferocious pass rushes and athletic coverage linebackers. The combination allowed them to attack the backfield while having the coverage ability to stay in their base set more than the usual NFL defense.

The success of those defenses could spur the New York Giants, who have needed to upgrade the speed of their defense, and linebackers in particular, to look to a player like Deion Jones.

Measurables

Pros

  • Athletic, "twitchy" linebacker. Jones can cover sideline to sideline
  • Team Captain and a "team first" player
  • Voted defensive MVP after leading the Tigers with 100 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, as well as 5 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, and a forced fumble
  • Special Teams ace, who excelled on the LSU special teams before becoming a starter
  • High football IQ, generally quick to diagnose and attack a play.

Cons

  • Undersized for a traditional NFL linebacker. He is an effective three-down linebacker, but needs to be protected by the defensive line. Struggles to take on offensive line blocks.
  • Doesn't appear to have much room on his frame to add mass.
  • Could stand to be more consistent as a tackler.
  • Didn't become a starter until his senior year, not as experienced as his status as a senior would indicate.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - Not in top 50

Mocking The Draft - 84th

CBS - 73rd

Draft Tek - 92nd

Does He Fit With the Giants?

He's a linebacker who can run, cover, and attack the backfield: Deion Jones fits the New York Giants.

While he is (much) smaller than the Giants have typically liked their linebackers, both John Mara and Jerry Reese have said that they will be changing how they evaluate and value players. Part of that could be their insistence on linebackers that are 6-3 or 6-4, 245-255 pounds, and still able to run. Those kinds of players just aren't coming out of college anymore (well, they are, but they're defensive ends now). If they are willing to accept a linebacker that blurs the lines with safeties, Deion Jones could catch the Giants' eye.

It also shouldn't be ignored that the Giants' special teams were finally a legitimate strength in 2015. Adding a special teams demon like Jones will only help to build on that strength.

Final Thoughts

Jones is the kind of rangy, athletic linebacker who excels in coverage that the Giants have needed for some time. Their defense has been burned by receiving backs out of the backfield and tight ends over the middle for far, far too long. Steve Spagnuolo wanted to be more aggressive and blitz more than they did in 2015, however the Giants lacked the athleticism to get pressure quickly and to keep quarterbacks from dissecting the defense with quick passes. Adding a player like Jones could help alleviate that problem.