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The prototype: Teams looking to draft the next Deion Jones


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http://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/32099/the-prototype-teams-looking-to-draft-the-next-deion-jones

Love me some Debo!!

 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Deion Jones initially tried to brush it off as no big deal, but the Atlanta Falcons' Pro Bowl middle linebacker's smile revealed just how flattered he was about the high praise.

A number of folks going through this year's draft process -- executives, coaches, agents and prospects themselves -- have mentioned Jones as the type of linebacker teams are trying to add to their roster. It's quite the compliment, considering the 6-foot-1 Jones, who plays at around 230 pounds, is entering just his third season and has much more to accomplish. But his blazing speed and playmaking ability -- 246 tackles, six interceptions, two defensive touchdowns and 13 pass breakups through 31 games -- already speak volumes.

 

Deion Jones has been mentioned as an example of the type of linebacker teams are seeking to draft into their rosters. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

"It's a blessing," Jones said of being mentioned in such high regard. "Just a little kid from New Orleans who never even fathomed that he would be like the prototypical linebacker that people are looking for. It moves me. But I don't want nobody to be me. I want everybody to hone their own game and play their own style. Nobody has to be me."

Top linebacker prospect Roquan Smith said he's drawn comparisons to Jones through the draft process. The 6-1, 236-pound Georgia product is projected as a top-10 pick by ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.

"I haven't talked to him but the games I did see, he has motor," Jones said of Smith. "He plays fast. He plays with all his heart. That's a good thing. That's definitely going to help him out in the league."

 

Another linebacker compared to Jones is Oren Burks, a fast-rising prospect from Vanderbilt. Burks (6-3, 233) might not have the same blazing speed, but his athleticism [39.5 vertical] and long arms have NFL teams intrigued.

Burks has studied film of Jones.

"More recently, I've followed his game a lot more, trying to watch some highlights of how he made that transition to the league and became an impact player," said Burks, projected as possibly a second-day pick. "Look at the combine numbers, I thought I stacked up pretty well to him. It's kind of interesting to see how you match up with guys who have proven they can do it."

Burks and Jones each ran the 40 in 4.59 seconds at the combine. However, Jones' stock soared to another level when he turned around at LSU pro day and ran a blistering 4.38. It certainly got the Falcons' attention, as they went on to select Jones in the second round of the 2016 draft.

"Pro day, that clock helped a lot," Jones said with a laugh. "I knew I was a 4.4 guy. That's what I was hitting when I was training. It was very intimidating at the combine, to tell you the truth. At LSU, I had my support behind me, my brothers. I knew I had put on for my boys."

 

Talk of being undersized never fazed Jones because he knew what he was capable of being a playmaker. The prospects in this year's draft should carry the same mentality based how the perception of the type of linebacker has changed.

"That old-time, prototypical, downhill inside linebacker who stuffs the run, all that point-of-attack stuff is secondary to coverage," said one NFC assistant who works with linebackers. "People are looking more for that guy who has coverage ability who can cover those backs who are coming out. And the NFC South might be the toughest division in terms of covering running backs.

"From an athletic standpoint, there's probably about a half a dozen guys in this draft like [Jones] that people know about. The reason people overlooked Deion is because he was a bit undersized. But some people just don't do their homework, and they miss an opportunity to get a guy like that."

 

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3 hours ago, Slappywhite said:

His name is Roquan Smith , who I believe will be even better.

We shall see about that. 

NFL is a copycat league, heck even we tried to find next Deion Jones last year by drafting Duke Riley. You still got to have those instincts. 

Also, you've got to have a great space eater DT in front of you keeping blockers off your smallish LBers. It's why I'm been more concerned than most in here this offseason about losing poe and replacing him with a rookie, which will hamper Jones effectiveness. 

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4 minutes ago, youngbloodz said:

I swear you are probably the most level headed fan when talking about guys that played at your favorite school. You hardly ever give a homer opinion

Thanks for that.    YES, it is fairly easy for me as I love the FALCONS as much as my DAWGS.   If I thought a Florida/Auburn/Bama player was 1% better than a Georgia player - I would want the Falcons to take the non-UGA player.    

However, the people that just drop in whenever I have something positive to say about a Bulldog player - accuse me of being a homer - drives me crazy!:bang:

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Reading what Jones says about his combine numbers tells me one thing for all workout warrior gurus: You better private workout or pro day these guys to verify if they overachieved or underachieved at one or the other. Some guys tighten up and don't give their average best numbers on that one sample at the combine or vice versa. Just gotta make sure actual film guys verify the measurements with game film.

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Debo is definitley the prototype now.  In the mold of a Bobby Wagner. Fast, quick, good in coverage, violent hands to get off blocks. Side line to sideline.  I think Debo is probably the best coverage LB in the game already. Luke and Bobby are great all around guys and more stout than debo but Debo gets his hands on so many balls and he also has zero problem covering backs out of the backfield .   R. Smith has a lot of potential but he sounds like a N. Bowman clone IMO. He will be great for somebody but Debo is fantastic fit for us.  Debo in 2nd round is wayyyyy better than Roquan in top 15. 

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4 hours ago, NeonDeion said:

So he’ll be a HOFer? Cuz if Debo stays healthy he’s gonna be All-Pro for sure 

Time will tell ,I love Debo , but think Roquan may have better instincts . Who says Roquan cant be an all pro this year , he's a special talent , 

Edited by Slappywhite
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3 hours ago, g-dawg said:

Thanks for that.    YES, it is fairly easy for me as I love the FALCONS as much as my DAWGS.   If I thought a Florida/Auburn/Bama player was 1% better than a Georgia player - I would want the Falcons to take the non-UGA player.    

However, the people that just drop in whenever I have something positive to say about a Bulldog player - accuse me of being a homer - drives me crazy!:bang:

Like you should wear blinders on a school that is in your backyard,  nevermind in the past 5 years theyve been one of the best recruiting teams in the NCAA,  this years class maybe one of the best ever,

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4 hours ago, g-dawg said:

Thanks for that.    YES, it is fairly easy for me as I love the FALCONS as much as my DAWGS.   If I thought a Florida/Auburn/Bama player was 1% better than a Georgia player - I would want the Falcons to take the non-UGA player.    

However, the people that just drop in whenever I have something positive to say about a Bulldog player - accuse me of being a homer - drives me crazy!:bang:

I can vouch that you aren't a homer at all. If you say you want the Falcons to draft a UGA player I go look at that player twice

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11 hours ago, Vandy said:

We shall see about that. 

NFL is a copycat league, heck even we tried to find next Deion Jones last year by drafting Duke Riley. You still got to have those instincts. 

Also, you've got to have a great space eater DT in front of you keeping blockers off your smallish LBers. It's why I'm been more concerned than most in here this offseason about losing poe and replacing him with a rookie, which will hamper Jones effectiveness. 

Bingo. You better have some beef that can rotate in on the DL in case you face big OL with a big power RB if you have smallish LBs.  We did last year, I’ll bet we draft a big fattie for running downs to go with a top of the line quicker DT.

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19 hours ago, Vandy said:

We shall see about that. 

NFL is a copycat league, heck even we tried to find next Deion Jones last year by drafting Duke Riley. You still got to have those instincts. 

Also, you've got to have a great space eater DT in front of you keeping blockers off your smallish LBers. It's why I'm been more concerned than most in here this offseason about losing poe and replacing him with a rookie, which will hamper Jones effectiveness. 

Exactly. Philly playoff game comes to mind (and we had Poe there). Philly OL were heat seeking misslies straight to jones and locked him up. He was not effective. We gotta find a big DT to absorb blockers 

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One word, intangibles.

Jones is more than just his workout numbers. He has a certain go get it attitude that allows him to train on the tiny details and push himself to finish plays. The reason I’m high in Smith coming out is because that kid has the same mentality, in which he is convinced that every ball carrier is his tackle no matter where they are. That’s what separates guys from the workout warriors that end up falling flat. Especially at linebacker. The desire to finish and clean up every play

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