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The importance of Deion Jones to the Falcons' defense can't be overstated
 

It is no coincidence that the Atlanta Falcons earned the 19th- and 25th- ranked coverage and defensive grade, respectively, in 2018 — the year Deion Joneshad his season cut short due to a foot injury. And while Atlanta also lost safety Keanu Neal in the same game, the PFF data suggests that Jones is the player that the Falcons need as the leader of their defense.

The 2017 season was a different story for the Falcons. The defense maintained an 87.6 team defense grade and a 91.0 coverage grade, both of which ranked inside the top eight in the league. This was the season in which Jones proved himself as a top-tier talent in the NFL, as he went on to earn an 87.3 overall grade and a 91.1 coverage grade across his 1,020 defensive snaps.

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Jones looked to be going about his business as usual in Week 1 of the 2018 campaign, as he earned a 90.2 defensive grade across 69 snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener. However, injury struck, and after 11 weeks on the inactive list, Jones struggled to refind his feet when he returned, and he earned a 67.9 grade over the last five games of the season.

You do not have to look far to find the area in which Jones excels. His coverage ability, more specifically his ability to break on throws and make plays in the open field, is arguably second to none. Jones produced 22 coverage stops in 2017, the third-highest total of any linebacker in the NFL, and he led the league with nine combined pass breakups and interceptions. These PFF metrics resulted in Jones leading the league in 2017 with a 91.1 coverage grade. 

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The LSU alumnus is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal after being drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, but PFF data suggests the Falcons might want to look to get ahead of the pack and sign Jones to an extension.

Looking at his tape, it's not hard to notice that Jones consistently makes plays in coverage, plays that could easily result in a touchdown for a majority of linebackers in the NFL. This playmaking ability is displayed here as rolls to the left and sprints upfield to stall a screen pass to Tarik Cohen, one of the NFL’s most dynamic players.

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Jones’ rare athleticism translates to freakish playmaking ability on the field. The below example is one of many, but it may be the most notable, as he picked off future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees to seal the win over New Orleans. Jones' 33” vertical leap ranked 13th among draft-eligible linebackers in the 2016 draft class, and it showed itself here.

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It was not a tough decision to put Jones on PFF’s top 25 NFL players under 25 list. We detailed Jones’ career by highlighting His 12.2 forced incompletion percentage which ranks first among qualifying linebackers since 2017, and his 81.0 passer rating allowed which ranks second. Look for Jones to make his case as a Comeback Player of the Year candidate in 2019 as he hopes to not only formulate a comeback season for himself but for the Falcons as well.

 

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He’s just so good man it’s ridiculous . I’m almost 100% positive we lucked into him at this point . That 2016 draft was a hit . Only negative one could pin on it is Neal last 2 injuries which can be chalked up to luck . We haven’t come close to replicating a draft like that since . 

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13 minutes ago, GeorgiaBoyz said:

He’s just so good man it’s ridiculous . I’m almost 100% positive we lucked into him at this point . That 2016 draft was a hit . Only negative one could pin on it is Neal last 2 injuries which can be chalked up to luck . We haven’t come close to replicating a draft like that since . 

2018 was a sneaky good draft.

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54 minutes ago, ramonezy said:

Screenshot_20200503-102737__01.thumb.jpg.0fca4a8625edf9a2d9a4e9960d678c7a.jpg

 

The humour of post draft grades... We only produced 3 Pro Bowlers 

TD Reached for all of them......LOL!

 

It's amazing that people take these projection and grades so serious. I'm sure this isn't the first time a bad grade was giving to a draft with one or more pro-bowlers.

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2 hours ago, ya_boi_j said:

 

Our defense in the first half last year even made debo look bad. A a coach, if you're making arguably the best LB and the league look bad, it's probably you and it's no wonder the rest looked horrid. Still not sure what the plan was, and I'm sure it was genius to some degree but dang!

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9 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

2018 was a sneaky good draft.

I really want to see Senat more. Feels like he is the diamond in the rough we haven't totally uncovered yet. Oliver is entering year 3, and most CB's make the leap in this year. Ridley has been good out the gates. Ito has had his moments. Probably will never be a feature back, but solid in most cases. 2020 has a 2016 vibe though. AJ is an assumed reach in the first similar to Neal. Versatile, overlooked talent with upside to be one of the best at his position in Davidson.  Future project on offense with starter upside in year 1. Just a solid all around draft.

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16 minutes ago, The O.D.B said:

Our defense in the first half last year even made debo look bad. A a coach, if you're making arguably the best LB and the league look bad, it's probably you and it's no wonder the rest looked horrid. Still not sure what the plan was, and I'm sure it was genius to some degree but dang!

Honestly I remember all of the posts saying he had lost it and what not to start the year. Personally i saw a player trying to overcompensate for others shortcomings and wearing himself down fast. You're never going to look good when you're trying to do other people's jobs

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3 hours ago, ya_boi_j said:

 

Such a special player. He just plays at a different speed. You can see the film study and instinct in the way he plays too...flying to the ball before other players even realize what's going on. It's what Campbell has always been missing. Dude could have been good if he had Debo's instincts.

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1 hour ago, The O.D.B said:

TD Reached for all of them......LOL!

 

It's amazing that people take these projection and grades so serious. I'm sure this isn't the first time a bad grade was giving to a draft with one or more pro-bowlers.

Like the one that just happened like last week 

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3 hours ago, ramonezy said:

Screenshot_20200503-102737__01.thumb.jpg.0fca4a8625edf9a2d9a4e9960d678c7a.jpg

 

The humour of post draft grades... We only produced 3 Pro Bowlers 


Thats what I’m talkin bout!

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