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Hot Take Tuesday: Dawand Jones is the best Right Tackle in the draft and a 1st Round Talent

Could the Buckeyes offensive lineman go in the first round of the NFL Draft? He's certainly making a name for himself.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the best teams in college football year in and year out. They consistently send several top players to the draft and have put 16 players in the first round over the last five years. 

Their 2022 class is headlined by first-round receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, but the most intriguing player on the Buckeyes roster is 6'8" 360-pound right tackle Dawand Jones. The junior from Indianapolis not only has the talent to join them in the first round, but he also has the chance to be the first right tackle selected next April. 

Jones was a four-star recruit who chose Ohio State over schools such as Florida, Penn State, Michigan, and Auburn. He wasn't just a football player, however. Jones starred on the basketball court, averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game for Ben Davis High School. Jones was such a talented basketball player; he had many division I offers but turned them down for a career on the gridiron. 

Similar to many Buckeyes, Jones had to wait his turn along the offensive line. With that being said, he was able to find a role on special teams as a freshman, forcing the Buckeyes to keep him on the roster and burn his redshirt year. He even received playing time at left tackle against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Maryland and Rutgers. That doesn't happen very often, especially for a player who didn't come in as a top five-star recruit in the nation.  

Going into his sophomore campaign, Jones still had to be patient. Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere were ahead of him at the two tackle spots on the depth chart and were two of the top players in the nation. It was evident that Jones was prepared for whenever his number would get called, though, as Covid-19 and injuries created an opportunity for him to start versus Michigan State. Against an underrated defensive front, Jones gave up just one pressure on 73 snaps. That was his only start of the season, but it was easy to see that it would be hard for Ryan Day and company to keep Jones off the field for his junior season. 

With the news that Thayer Munford was returning to school, it looked like there would be a log jam at tackle for Jones again, however. He played so well during spring ball, though, that he forced the Buckeyes to put him in their starting lineup. After moving Munford to left guard and Petit-Frere to left tackle, a spot opened up for Jones. He took it and hasn't looked back.

On film this season for Ohio State, Jones has been their best offensive linemen. He has given up a total of eight pressures in seven games and has locked down every edge rusher he has faced. His movement skills and athleticism at 360 pounds are special. Jones is so hard to get around in pass protection. His strength makes it very difficult for defenders to win with power, and he does an excellent job with his pad level and hands to prevent rushers from winning the outside track against him. 

Not to mention, Jones is a pancake machine in the run game. His power is too overwhelming for defenders to hold the edge against him. Jones creates gaping holes for runners to move through and has arguably been the best run blocker in the country this season. 

What has been so impressive about Jones is how low he can get for his overall size. There is always a concern with a 6'8" 360-pound player that they'll lose the leverage battle or play too high. That isn't the case with Jones, which is why he is so unique. Every team wants a tackle who looks like Jones; they are just so hard to find. 

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If Jones continues his play as the Buckeyes schedule heats up, the sky's the limit for him as a prospect. Jones will check every box teams look for on film, and he is going to test off the charts at the combine for his size. Taking all that into account, Jones is the best right tackle in the country and a first-round prospect. 

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