Welcome to Finding Broncos, our annual prospect-by-prospect series deep-diving on the coming NFL draft class. The scouting continues with Pittsburgh edge rusher Patrick Jones II, a talented prospect but does he fit the Denver Broncos?
- Height: 6 foot 4.5
- Weight: 264 pounds
- Explodes off the snap and attacks with balance and fluid movement.
- Has good footwork when attacking as a pass rusher.
- Flexibility isn’t great, but it is good enough for the NFL to turn the corner on tackles.
- Has a wide arsenal of pass rush weapons all revolving around his excellent, though inconsistent, hand technique.
- Plays to the whistle every snap.
- Does a good job of reading run plays as they develop and getting into a position to defend.
- Power in his hands are good enough.
- Can identify pullers on outside runs and does well to work around them.
- He gets his hands up in the passing lanes when his pass rush isn’t getting home.
- Has solid lateral agility to be effective against outside runs without getting caught up.
- His length isn’t ideal and could see him limited to a 4-3 end instead of a 3-4 rush linebacker along with a lack of bend.
- Could do with improvements on his initial contact hand technique.
- Needs to do better using what length he has to try and help keep blockers off of him.
- His bull rush struggles to be effective because of the lack of length.
- Would be nice to see more grip strength to help disengage.
- Doesn’t offer up the traits to work in space.
Jones is an enticing edge rusher as a 7-technique 4-3 defensive end in a 3-point stance. The traits he does have are easier to transition to the NFL in that role.
Playing him as a 2-point stand-up rush linebacker will create problems with length and on the few occasions, he will be asked to drop into coverage.
Jones is a smart defensive end that understands positioning as a run defender and isn’t a liability in that aspect of the game.
Fit with Broncos
To sum it up simply, the Broncos don’t run the right scheme to properly utilize Jones to the best of his abilities. They are a 3-4, essentially, that has their rushers attack out of a 2-point stance and Jones doesn’t have the length for that.
On top of that issue, he doesn’t have the ability to drop into coverage for when the Broncos defense calls for it from their rush linebackers. If there was a scheme change, which isn’t happening this year, or he was a little longer, it wouldn’t be as hard to potentially make it work.
Grade: Round 3
Where he goes: Round 3
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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