The NFL is a land of giants. NFL players are, on average, so big that even smaller players are shockingly large when seen out of context and next to normal humans.
But even among the biggest NFL prospects, Ohio State right tackle Dawand Jones stands out. Jones is a dancing elephant of an offensive tackle, and fits neatly under New York Giants GM George Young’s “Planet Theory”. That is, there are very few humans walking the planet Earth with Jones’ sizes and athletic ability.
Standing 6-foot-8, 374 pounds, Jones is an imposing player who can help but grab attention wherever he is. But as big as he is, does he have the necessary athleticism to hold up on the edge in the NFL?
Prospect: Dawand Jones (79)
Games Watched: vs. Notre Dame (2022), vs. Iowa (2022), vs. Penn State (2022), vs. Michigan (2022)
Best: Size, length, play strength, man-gap blocking
Worst: Foot speed, quickness, agility
Projection: A potential starting offensive tackle.
(Jones is Ohio State right tackle number 79)
Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones has a rare combination of size, length, and power for the position.
Jones is a truly massive human at 6-foot-8, 374 pounds, with 36 ⅜ inch arms and 11 ⅝ inch hands. His sheer size and length allow him to carry his 374 pounds surprisingly well, and Jones is a relatively fluid athlete for his size. He is a natural knee bender who has good hip and pad level at the start of the rep. He also has a smooth, balanced kick-slide that covers a lot of ground and lets him hit his landmarks while staying in position to engage defenders. Even if he’s initially beaten by a speed rusher, his length allows him to redirect them around the pocket.
He is, of course, every bit as powerful as his size would suggest. Jones has a very powerful punch that can send defenders reeling when he lands it on their chestplate. He is easily able to anchor against power rushers and generates movement along the line of scrimmage as a run blocker. He’s at his best when blocking downhill and is able to drive defenders off the ball. He can struggle to get under defenders’ pads due to his height, but he’s powerful enough to move them without great leverage.
Jones’ greatest strength – that is, his great size – is also his greatest weakness. While Jones is a flexible athlete with smooth feet for his size, he has heavy, slow feet compared to more conventional tackles. He can struggle to keep up with athletic pass rushers, and he can struggle to fit his hands while trying to mirror faster defenders. He can also be quick to flip his hips and turn perpendicular to the line of scrimmage and give up the edge to pass rushers.
Any loss of leverage is magnified by Jones’ height, and his size can make it difficult for him to maintain his knee bend on longer plays. He can see his knees straighten and base narrow as fatigue sets in, compromising his power and balance.
Overall Grade: 7.7
Dawand Jones projects as a player who should at least get the opportunity to compete for an offensive tackle job.
His rare size and pedigree will likely get him drafted sooner rather than later. That said, whether or not he’s able to hang on the edge in the NFL will come down to whether or not he’s able to match up against the speed in the NFL.
Teams love big offensive linemen, but Jones’ size could be too much of a good thing. While he’s a good athlete for his size, his foot speed, quickness, agility, and leverage is lacking compared to archetypal offensive tackles. Tackles with power but slow(er) feet are candidates to move inside to guard, but Jones’ height makes him a “tackle only” lineman. Jones carries his weight well, but losing some weight might be advisable at the NFL level. Even dropping down to a svelte 350 pounds might make it easier for him to keep his knee bend throughout the play and help his foot speed.
If he can play with consistent leverage, his kick-slide does cover a lot of ground and his sheer length allows him to cover a lot of ground as a blocker and compensate for differences in speed. That could make him a starter at the NFL level, but he comes with risk.