Ralph Mancini: ILB Deion Jones, LSU
Round 1: DT Austin Johnson
My second-round pick is an undersized run-and-hit linebacker in the mold of Telvin Smith. Yeah, that Telvin Smith, who entered the NFL at 218 pounds. The man that some scouts didn’t know what to do with because he was a bit light in the pants. Jones checks in at about the same weight, but only faster than the current Jacksonville Jaguar.
The former LSU Tiger, also known as “Debo”, is a rangy sideline-to-sideline player, but can also fill in the gaps going downhill. In fact, Jones won’t think twice about taking guys on in the “A” gap when necessary. As far as pass coverage goes, he’s not only fast enough to cover slot receivers, but has the ability to turn his hips and change directions as a pass defender.
What about special teams, you ask? Well, Jones played plenty of that in Baton Rouge and was often the first man to the ball on coverage teams. The prospect that coach Les Miles recently described as “the fastest player I’ve ever been around” has the toughness to play in the box in the early downs plus the instincts and movement skills to come in on third-down sub-packages.
And if that weren’t enough, Jones is known as a selfless team-first individual. As we all know, Ted Thompson always factors in how his draft selections will fit in within the confines of the locker room.
Next: Kenn Korb