An offensive tackle’s job, in the simplest form, is to obstruct and displace defensive linemen. A lot goes into performing that role successfully, but it doesn’t hurt to be the biggest man on the field. That’s an honor Ohio State OT prospect Dawand Jones can boast in any game he plays, and that’s what makes him a prime 2023 NFL Draft prospect.
Dawand Jones NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’8″, 374 pounds
- Length: 36 3/8″
- Hand: 11 5/8″
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.
Fast forward to today, and Jones is coming off a career in which he played 40 games, with 26 starting assignments at right tackle. He was a third-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2022, and he awed evaluators during a short but dominant stint at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
The idea of Jones in the NFL is very appealing — a dominant lineman with unmatchable power and size. But how does that size translate on the field?
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.
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 looms 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 blasts back smaller defenders as a moving blocker and is 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. With his power, length, and initial burst, Jones paves defenders out of lanes and clears 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 brings elite functional strength to the fold. He’s shown to 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 latches onto his opponent’s torso and negates superior leverage with his suffocating strength. With his frame, he’s able to square up and envelop defenders. Jones 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 can bend his knees effectively while matching rushers laterally and extending inside the torso. He’s also shown to acquire leverage, load his hips, and channel his lower body on power exertions while on the move. Jones 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 turns and runs, opens his strides, and chases 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 extends inside the torso with two-hand punches and slabs rushers early in reps, quickly reloading and resetting his hands after initial punches.
Jones naturally stores massive amounts of potential energy as a hand fighter and uses it methodically. The Ohio State OT unleashes successive extensions to stun and gather opponents around the apex, then locks out with his arms. Jones is able to chop down rip moves and match rushers with bouts of recovery athleticism and 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 to 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 to 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 and 2022. 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, he drags the 3-technique with one-hand extensions and carries stunting rushers. Jones 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 sometimes struggle to lower off the snap 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, Jones can be easily tugged forward past his center of gravity and forced to lurch. He showed good knee bend down the stretch in 2021 and 2022, but there are still instances where Jones 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 could 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 decent change-of-direction ability, Jones’ overall efficiency is poor, and he’s not overly explosive, either, as his 1.92 10-yard split indicates.
Going further, Jones doesn’t quite have the range to stack blocks consistently when heading upfield and blocking on the move. He exhibits hip stiffness when he has to turn sideways off the snap and track laterally across the formation. His 5.35 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine exhibited this lack of range and unobstructed movement freedom.
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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. Jones is 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 to a fault, 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. While he has a good initial stance, he can be wild with hand placement when extending, swaying both high and wide. With his leverage issues, Jones 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. Jones doesn’t always reset his base well enough when encountering contact. His footwork can occasionally be a bit staggered, rendering his base too thin and unstable. Jones could 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 his career went on. The question remains how consistent Jones can be in this area, but he’s shown flashes of growth.
Current Draft Projection for Ohio State OT Dawand Jones
Upon completion of his collegiate career, Jones grades as a top-75 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, worthy of consideration in the Day 2 range. Factoring in his generational size and natural ability as a right tackle, Jones could be a surprise Round 1 pick, but his grade sets his optimal value slightly farther down the board.
Jones’ profile as an NFL offensive tackle is more polarizing than most. He passes the elite threshold in a number of areas — among them size, power, strength, and physicality. But with his size comes lingering issues with balance, leverage management, and flexibility. He’s arguably past the point of diminishing returns when it comes to size.
Jones is massive, and his size alone can be dominating. Meanwhile, his long arms can wall off rushers at the point of attack. However, Jones is relatively top-heavy and stiff as a player. He can’t always sink his pads or redirect in space, and because he lacks high-end functional mobility, his margin for error is smaller in the technical realm.
While there’s caution that comes with Jones’ profile, there’s also optimism. The Ohio State OT has flashed good leverage acquisition and knee bend for his size. And over the course of the 2021 and 2022 seasons, he visibly improved at managing his size with proper technique in pass protection. Jones 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 a great mover at his size, but Jones has above-average functional athleticism for his size, as well as enough foot speed to complement his rare power element. He’s already shown progression on the technical side. If Jones can keep stabilizing his mechanics and sustain his growth with leverage, he has the necessary tools to eventually become a solid starting right tackle in the NFL.
On my board, Jones is the third-highest-graded natural right tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft, behind Tennessee’s Darnell Wright and Oklahoma’s Wanya Morris. But especially for teams that employ lots of power and gap schemes, Jones holds considerable appeal. He can man the island on the right side in pass protection and pave open lanes in a phone booth as a run blocker.
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