TS: Shifted around. One of the main themes from the new coaching staff has been versatility. They want players who can fulfill multiple roles. Nose tackle appears like Jones’ best and most needed fit, however, he’ll get some looks as a 5-tech defensive end.
Former Nittany Lion defensive tackle DaQuan Jones was selected in the fourth round as the No. 112 pick overall of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. Jones, though a defensive tackle with the Nittany Lions, will likely be asked to move to nose tackle in the hybrid 3-4 scheme that the Titans will run. While most Penn State fans know all about Jones and have watched his career, fans may not know much about the team where Jones is now a part of.
VBR did an interview this week profiling what Jones brings to the NFL for Titan Sized, a blog dedicated to the Tennessee Titans. Now, editor Joshua Huffman returns the favor for us, explaining a bit about the current Tennessee defense and where Jones is likely to fit.
VBR- Victory Bell Rings Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr.
TS- Titan Sized Editor Joshua Huffman
VBR: What does the Tennessee depth chart look like in front of DaQuan Jones?
TS: It’s hard to project that because of how much versatility there is between each of the defensive linemen and outside linebackers. Complicating the process are the three- and four-man fronts that teams will see from Ray Horton’s hybrid defense. To avoid getting lengthy, here’s a projected depth chart that I did for the defensive linemen and hybrid players.
VBR: Do you think the coaches will only look at Jones as a nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme or do you see him being shifted around based on his versatility and the needs of the team?
VBR: Have you heard any fan reaction to the Jones pick? If so, has it been positive or negative.
TS: The Titans had six picks. Jones has been the one pick where I haven’t heard any complaints. A lot of fans were wanting another interior defensive lineman for the scheme, me included. Not only does Jones come at a great value (projected Round 2-3, drafted mid-Round 4) but he’s someone who can immediately compete for playing time.
VBR: Can you talk about usual Tennessee expectations for rookies- are they typically brought along slowly, or thrown into the fire right away due to need?
TS: A typical rookie is brought along slowly. With that said, 2013 first-rounder Chance Warmack was inserted into the starting lineup in Week 1. I’m not expecting that from a mid-round pick, not unless he tears up training camp or injuries occur.
VBR: Elaborate on anything else Penn State fans would want to know about Jones’ chances of earning solid playing time with the Titans, as most are probably not very familiar with the scheme, players or coaches.
TS: My projections are that he’ll begin as a role player who’ll have every opportunity to develop into a starter when 2015 rolls around. Maybe he can crack the starting lineup sooner. The Titans don’t have a true nose tackle on their roster, although they’re not running a traditional 2-gap 3-4 defense. One thing’s for sure: the Titans lack big bodies on their defensive line. They’re getting one with Jones.