New Orleans Saints 2016 NFL Draft Profile: Deion Jones
If the New Orleans Saints plan on taking a weakside linebacker in the upcoming NFL Draft, LSU’s Deion Jones is an intriguing option. But will Sean Payton actually draft a Tiger?
With the 2016 NFL Draft kicking off at the end of the month, we continue getting a closer look at some of the prospects this year’s rookie class has to offer. Today, we’re covering Deion Jones, an LSU standout who could be a solid weakside linebacker for the WLB-needy New Orleans Saints.
Weight: 222 LBS
Arm length: 32 3/8 inches
Hands: 9 1/4 inches
40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds
Vertical: 33 inches
Broad jump: 120 inches
A bit undersized, Deion Jones plays bigger than he actually is and boasts exceptional athleticism, chasing down ball carriers while also moving like a safety in coverage. You’ll see in the breakdown video below.
He could afford to bulk up, but despite being a bit underweight, his strength, power and explosiveness outweigh his size, making him a strong candidate to win a weakside linebacker gig in the NFL.
He only started one year at LSU, so his inexperience may cause him to slide down in the draft process, but somebody should get a real steal here. This is a raw, but very special athlete with a high ceiling at the next level.
From LSUSports.net: Jones played in 51 games in his career at LSU with 11 starts. He finished his career with the Tigers with 165 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and five sacks to go along with 11 quarterback hurries, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. He had his best year of his career as a senior in 2015 , as he was named one of five finalist for the Butkus Award (nation’s top linebacker).
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How he fits with the New Orleans Saints:
Despite adding three linebackers in free agency, the New Orleans Saints are still in need of a weakside linebacker — the health of Dannell Ellerbe is nothing to count on. Before free agency, it was arguably the team’s biggest obligation. To many, it still is.
Deion Jones is somebody who could come in and be effective against both the run and pass. Given his athleticism and fluidity in coverage, he’s also somebody who could maybe find success in a linebacker-safety hybrid role, which is becoming a popular idea in today’s NFL.
Jones has a high ceiling, but his lack of starting experience and small size will make him wait until day two of the draft before his name is finally called. The New Orleans Saints, who have passed on LSU Tigers in the past, could get a real steal here if they’re willing to pull the trigger.