Will we be comparing Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones to Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Pro Gerald McCoy? Matt Waldman’s RSP contributor Scott Bischoff highlights the early similarities.
Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones lives in opposing backfields. He is a disruptive interior defender loaded with physical ability to win in a variety of ways.
At 6’3″, 295 pounds, it’s not hard to see why Jones’ athletic ability reveals flashes of Buccaneers All-Pro Gerald McCoy — a 6’4″, 295-pound phenom with skilled run play and superior first-step quickness. We’re strictly discussing physical traits, not football skill.
Jones anchors the point of attack with a powerful lower body and uses heavy hands to win his gap. His excellent first-step quickness gets him into the backfield, and his agility aids his pursuit of the ball.
Jones’ prototypical size and quickness will present problems for offenses at the 3-technique position in the NFL and he also brings enough versatility to kick out and play as a 5-technique in an odd-man front. When a defensive lineman like Jones can play all three downs with well-rounded skills, the NFL makes these prospects priority picks.
Below are a few videos that highlight the physical traits McCoy and Jones have in common, how it makes McCoy is such a difficult assignment for an offensive line, and the potential it gives Jones as an NFL prospect.
Excellent First-Step Quickness
From the first clip, McCoy’s first-step quickness jumps off the tape. Watch how he is in the backfield so quickly that the guard (No. 76) can’t even get a piece of McCoy’s body.
Most guards beaten early can at least mount a last-ditch effort to lean on the defender and ride him out of the play — not so with McCoy. Notice there are five defenders on the line of scrimmage, and at the snap, you can see McCoy is the first defender off the ball. McCoy is regularly the first man moving at the snap, and it is one of the keys to how he wins.
Here is another example of McCoy’s elite quickness. Lined up between the center and the left guard, McCoy is instantly in the backfield and beating running back Jonathan Stewart to the corner, forcing Stewart to abandon the designed play.
McCoy’s presence forces Stewart to reverse course and take a run designed to go outside to the left all the way to the right. When a player with NFL-caliber technical skills has possesses this type of baseline quickness, there will be plays where offensive linemen can’t touch the defender and it wreaks havoc on the outcome of the play’s design.
McCoy’s ability to bend and turn makes him an excellent finisher of plays. Watch McCoy run past the guard at an acute angle and attack quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
McCoy’s flexibility and agility is the key to him beating the guard. Flexibility also requires muscle strength and stamina to bend at this angle without slowing down. It’s the reason McCoy sacks Kaepernick on this play and doesn’t just flush the mobile quarterback from the pocket.
Dre’Mont Jones’ First Step And Flexibility
Here we have Jones lined up as a three-technique between the right guard and the right tackle. You can see the guard chasing Jones from the very moment the ball is snapped. As mentioned above with the McCoy examples, notice which defensive helmet on the defensive line moves first, and you will see it is Jones, and that happens on a consistent basis.
Here’s another shot of Jones at three-technique. His quickness, lateral agility, and ability to turn the corner while dropping his shoulder — which reduces the surface area for the guard to attack — are on display. Note his hand usage and the efficiency of his footwork that allows him to put the right guard in a blender.
This is a high-level play that shows plenty of excellent traits and demonstrates how Jones wins on a regular basis.
The left guard and left tackle work in the video below to double-team Jones. Watch him drop his hips and engage his lower body to stay anchored in his gap even as his right knee hits the ground.
Jones plays with outstanding functional power and is difficult to move off of the ball. This work prevents the line from generating a push and gives his teammates a chance to rally to the ball.
In the final shot below, the Oklahoma Sooners try taking advantage of Jones’ quickness by allowing him to come up the field unblocked. The tight end (No. 80) is supposed to come across the formation and wall Jones off, allowing the running back to cut back and run off of the hip of the tight end. Notice how quickly Jones gets out of his stance at the snap of the ball quick enough that the tight end cannot cover the ground to block Jones. Jones blows this play up in the backfield and drops the running back for a loss.
Jones’ first-step quickness makes him a versatile disruptor. He’s successful rushing the passer in the NCAA because of his athletic gifts. He uses his hands extremely well and keeps blockers away from his frame while running his feet through blocks. He is also stout enough versus the run to hold up and stay anchored in his gap which allows other defenders to flow to the ball.
The Jones-McCoy comparison is rooted in their similarity of stature and how they win on the field. McCoy is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL because of his athleticism and his well-rounded technical skill.
Jones wins on the interior of the defensive line in very similar ways and he will be a fascinating player to watch as he enters the NFL. If he works at his craft, we may one day use his Sunday tape to compare with McCoy.
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