Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State | NFL Draft Scouting Report

You probably came here because you saw the mountain of a man starting at OT for the Ohio State Buckeyes. That’s Dawand Jones, a 6’8″ behemoth with an enticing 2023 NFL Draft scouting report. It’s easy to wonder how a lineman like Jones might translate at the NFL level, but his teeth-rattling impact will undoubtedly earn fans next April.

Dawand Jones NFL draft profile

Jones looks down on the entire world. He always has. Not because of any inherent pretentiousness, mind you — it’s just because he’s really freaking big.

As a senior in high school, Jones was listed at 6’7″, 350 pounds. He played football and basketball at Ben Jones High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, but with his combination of length and mass, he naturally gravitated to the atmosphere of football. And recruiters naturally gravitated to him as well.

Jones was a four-star recruit out of the 2019 class and had offers from a host of Power Five schools, including Michigan, Florida, and Auburn. But Jones chose to move over a state to the east and join up with the Ohio State Buckeyes, who’d proven their ability to develop NFL offensive linemen.

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Fast forward to today, and Jones has played in 28 games, with 14 starts at right tackle. And each week, he tacks on another footnote to his NFL résumé. He’s on the Shrine Bowl 1000 and the Senior Bowl Watchlist and habitually draws the eyes of NFL evaluators. Or more accurately, he’s just impossible to miss.

The idea of Jones is very appealing — a dominant lineman with unmatchable power and size. But how does that size translate on the field?

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • School: Ohio State
  • Current Year: Senior
  • Height/Weight: 6’8″, 359 pounds

Dawand Jones scouting report

Jones’ size can be both a blessing and a curse at the offensive tackle position. But there are certain boons that Jones has that others simply don’t because of it. Here’s what Jones shows on tape and how the Ohio State OT makes an impact with his traits.

Jones’ positives

Offensive linemen are already generally made in a lab, compared to the average human being. But Jones is the offensive lineman’s Frankenstein. The Ohio State OT has a certifiably massive frame, with an arguably generational mix of height, mass, and width. With this frame, he brings elite length with arms over 36″ long and a suffocating wingspan.

Jones’ overwhelming size has some drawbacks, but he’s not a liability from a mobility standpoint. He has good foot speed for his size and can quickly transfer weight on shuffles and carry rushers to the apex. He also flashes good burst off the snap and can loom through gaps with decent speed as a lateral mover.

Jones brings solid initial quickness out of his stance. He gets decent depth with his kick and can mirror rushers off the snap with his base. Additionally, the Ohio State OT flashes impressive cylindrical twitch and energy in his movement in short ranges. He can load up potential energy very well in a phone booth.

Expanding on his mobility, Jones isn’t a complete liability in space. While he’s less effective there, he can get off the line and cover ground with long strides, using his length to close the gap on extensions. He also flashes decent change of direction at times and can tempo his footwork to gather his base and swivel around when rushers pressure him outside.

While Jones’ mobility isn’t a weakness, it’s nothing compared to the power element he brings. Jones has quantifiably elite power capacity with his rare length and mass. He can blast back smaller defenders as a moving blocker, and he’s able to accelerate into contact and channel that burst on extensions. When blocking upfield, Jones bowls over opponents with his mass and power capacity. He fits a dominant, bulldozer-like mold in the run game.

At the contact point, Jones’ hands have devastating knock-back power. The Ohio State OT can jar smaller opponents and blast them off-balance. And with his power, length, and initial burst, Jones can pave defenders out of lanes and clear space at the line. Moreover, he’s able to throw defenders into the turf and generate upper-body torque, even without the aid of his base.

With his frame, Jones also brings elite functional strength to the fold. He’s shown he can keep opponents within his frame and absorb power rushes with his core strength. He also has the grip strength to delay and lock down smaller rushers with one-hand extensions, even when worked off-balance. The Ohio State OT can latch onto his opponent’s torso and negate superior leverage with his suffocating strength, and he’s able to square up and envelop defenders with his frame. He consistently maintains his anchor against resistance and quickly resets his hands with violent extensions.

Leverage will be a particular point of emphasis for Jones. But the Ohio State OT has shown he can bend his knees effectively while matching rushers laterally and extending inside the torso. He’s also shown he can acquire leverage, load his hips, and channel his lower body on power exertions while on the move. He visibly improved his knee bend and hip control in pass protection as the 2021 season went on — a very promising development when projecting future growth.

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While Jones isn’t the most flexible lineman, he at least has enough hip flexibility to swing around in response to double moves and wall off linemen inside. The Ohio State OT can gather rushers and turn his hips to seal them off outside the apex with his length, then drive them away with leg churn. Jones flashes impressive hip flexibility for his size when in phase. He can turn and run, open his strides, and chase down surging rushers past the pocket.

Naturally, Jones’ ceiling as a hand fighter is very high, as he has the tools to be a dominating force for opponents. Jones consistently keeps his hands low and loaded at his sides when in his stance, effectively maximizing the potential energy on punches. From his stance, he can extend inside the torso with two-hand punches and slab rushers early in reps, and he’s shown he can quickly reload and reset his hands after initial punches.

Jones naturally stores massive amounts of potential energy as a hand fighter, and he’s shown he can use it methodically. The Ohio State OT can unleash successive extensions to stun and gather opponents around the apex, then lock out with his arms. He’s able to chop down rip moves and match rushers with bouts of recovery athleticism, and he flashes independent hand usage in spurts.

Of course, hand usage quickly erodes without proper footwork and lower-body mechanics. Jones appears well-coached here. He has good initial footwork out of his stance as a pass protector, and his pass sets can be surprisingly smooth and well-aligned. His foot speed allows him to reset and solidify his positioning in close quarters, and he’s shown he can maintain base while doing so.

Going further, Jones can use his corrective foot speed to stabilize and reset his base ahead of contact in pass protection, and he’s shown he can maintain synergy with his feet and hands while responding to opposing attack angles. He improved at resetting a uniform base and absorbing power rushes in pass protection in 2021. Most importantly, he has the capacity to stay in phase with his base, even if there’s room for further refinement.

Also encouraging is the awareness Jones shows as a blocker. In pass protection, Jones can drag the 3-technique with one-hand extensions and carry stunting rushers. He naturally picks up and gathers stunts, responding to complex rushes with impressive consistency and processing speed. The Ohio State OT can effectively reset his base alignment after gathering stunting linemen, and he has the awareness to recognize delayed rushers from wide alignments and quickly shift focus. He’ll slab looping linebackers with long-arms while engaging with adjacent linemen across-face.

Jones is a giant, but he’s not a gentle one. He’s a relentless force who can absolutely maul opponents coming downhill. He’ll barrel over exposed defenders and bury them in the turf. He has a strong motor blocking in space and consistently seeks to finish opponents.

Jones’ areas for improvement

Jones’ massive frame can be a double-edged sword. At times, he resembles a spinning top as a blocker. His power element is very appealing, but with his low-cut, top-heavy frame, he has a habit of playing tall and lopsided. His natural leverage deficiencies can undermine his game.

When playing too tall, Jones allows defenders to get under his pads with relative ease. He can struggle to lower off the snap at times and is left grabbing air by well-leveraged opponents. In a similar vein, Jones can be worked off-balance when wrenched over his center of gravity, and he doesn’t have great recovery athleticism. Especially when his base is too narrow or misaligned in pass protection, he can be easily tugged forward past his center of gravity and forced to lurch. He showed good knee bend down the stretch in 2021 but still struggles to manage his pad level through reps.

There are some athletic limitations that come with Jones’ size as well. The Ohio State OT isn’t a bad athlete, but he appears encumbered at times when moving in his stance. He can be more efficient with his lateral shuffles and be beaten to the apex by more explosive edge rushers. In space, Jones is considerably stiff. His range of motion off direction changes is very small, and he doesn’t naturally transition in the open field. While he flashes a decent change of direction, his overall efficiency is poor.

Going further, Jones doesn’t quite have the range to stack blocks consistently when moving upfield. He exhibits hip stiffness at times when he has to turn sideways off the snap and track laterally across the formation. The Ohio State OT also struggles to control his momentum and get his hips around when sealing off backside defenders on runs. After being worked upright by power, he often needs to pause and gather himself. He’s not an overly malleable blocker and doesn’t have the hip flexibility to consistently correct his alignment off the snap.

As a hand fighter, Jones can rely on two-hand extensions, and he sometimes widens his hands too much after starting reps with his hands tucked inside. Wide hands can open his torso, exposing him to power and leverage manipulation. Overall, Jones needs to keep his hands more controlled. The Ohio State OT has a good initial stance, but he can be wild with hand placement when he extends, swaying both high and wide. With his leverage issues, he sometimes punches too high off the snap and can’t latch right away.

Similarly, while Jones has shown development with his footwork, he can still seek further refinement. At times, Jones doesn’t reset his base well enough when encountering contact. His footwork can be a bit staggered, rendering his base too thin and unstable at times. Jones can be more diligent in maintaining a uniform base and staying in phase. His staggered feet can exacerbate his natural leverage concerns.

Moving onward, Jones sometimes turns his hips too far inward when responding to outside/inside moves, allowing defenders to exploit his alignment. The Ohio State OT needs to stay square with rushers on direction changes. He can also be more consistent in getting adequate depth out of his stance. He doesn’t always cover enough ground upfield and can struggle to recover once he’s behind.

Lastly, Jones’ feet can freeze on extensions, causing lurches and undermining his positioning. His feet sometimes drift too far forward in his stance, skewing his axis. Luckily, his blocking axis grew stronger as 2021 went on.

Current draft projection for Ohio State OT Dawand Jones

Off his available tape, Jones grades in the late Day 2, priority Day 3 range as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect. Elite traits like size, power, strength, and physicality all draw his grade up. But pressing issues like balance, leverage, and flexibility deflate his score. The result is a balanced-out grade in the middle rounds.

Being as big as he is, Jones naturally experiences issues with leverage. His frame is not only tall but top-heavy, and that can impact his ability to acquire proper leverage and sink his pads off the snap. He’s also somewhat stiff in open space when redirecting, and his margin for error is smaller in the technical realm. Even a moment’s lapse in pad level can give defenders a window to tug him off balance.

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While there’s caution that comes with Jones’ profile, there is also optimism. The Ohio State OT has flashed good leverage acquisition and knee bend for his size. And later in the 2021 season, he visibly improved at managing his size with proper technique in pass protection. He has a strong pass set, actively loads his hands on extensions, and can flip his hips to match rushers around the apex.

He’ll never be an elite mover at his size, but Jones has above-average athleticism and good foot speed to compliment his rare power element. He’s already shown progression on the technical side. If Jones keeps stabilizing his mechanics and sustains his growth with leverage, he has the necessary tools to be an eventual starting right tackle in the NFL. He can man the island on the right side in pass protection and pave open lanes in a phone booth as a run blocker.