Pro Football Focus: Titans DT Jones a Good Fit for Eagles

The Eagles may not be particularly aggressive once free agency opens next week, but they do have some holes to fill.

One such position the Eagles could stand to upgrade is defensive tackle, a place where the team could use a viable pass rusher to compliment Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins. As we noted earlier this week, Tennessee Titans DT Jason Jones seems to fit the mold and might be the type of player the Eagles take a long look at.

Here’s how Pro Football Focus breaks down Jones:

The consummate pro, Jones responded to a possible move to a defensive end exactly as his team would have hoped; by getting on with it. Had he known what was to follow, he may have been a bit more vocal about a damaging positional change that saw him have a horrid year playing predominantly at the DRE spot. On the year, he finished with our sixth-lowest grade of all 4-3 defensive ends (-9.3), holding up reasonably well, but failing to generate consistent pressure. 178 times he rushed from the defensive end spot and it resulted in just two sacks, three hits, and five hurries. In our Pass Rushing Productivity signature stat, he has a 4.5 PRP rating from the DE spot–a number that would be seventh-lowest of all defensive ends.

You could live with this, to a degree, if Jones was making play after play in the run game. The Seattle Seahawks have had great joy with a player like Red Bryant (+9.0 run defense) and not expected much in return as a pass rusher. The sheer strength and physicality of Bryant lets him push tackles around and redirect runs even if he doesn’t show up big on the stat sheet (though 17 defensive stops in the run game isn’t anything to turn your nose up at). Jones, a more explosive player, isn’t that type of run defender, grading positively on just 26 run plays all year (compared to 52 for Bryant) while only picking up nine defensive stops.

Simply put, Jason Jones the defensive end doesn’t do a whole lot of anything. And if you’ve seen him play tackle, you know that’s an almighty waste of talent.

So while Jones possesses the versatility to play both defensive end and defensive tackle, a trait the Eagles value, it makes sense to play Jones primarily on the interior defensive line.

So what are the chances Jones reuinites with former defensive line coach Jim Washburn?

Again, from PFF:

Of course Jenkins thrived in the same scheme Jones had his success in–the Wide-9 employed by defensive line coach Jim Washburn. A reunion with Washburn makes a lot of sense, but having invested in the defensive line last year, the Eagles seem to have bigger needs than targeting what could amount to a luxury player. More obvious links have Jones and the St Louis Rams hooking up with Jeff Fisher the newly installed head coach, but the NFL’s second-worst team actually got decent play out of their defensive line and may be more concerned with finding a new defensive coordinator after Gregg Williams’ bounty scandal plays out.

PFF suggests the Dolphins and Colts could be possible fits, too.

You can read the full article here.

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