Who Is Dawand Jones? Rookie RT To Replace Jack Conklin for Browns

    Browns right tackle Jack Conklin is out for the year. Will Cleveland's elite OL take a massive step back with rookie Dawand Jones in the starting lineup?

    The Cleveland Browns will be without Jack Conklin for the rest of the season. The veteran right tackle tore his ACL and MCL in the club’s season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

    With Conklin out for the year, the Browns will turn to rookie fourth-rounder Dawand Jones to man the right side of their elite offensive line. How much of a downgrade is Jones, and what does the future hold for Conklin?

    Dawand Jones Is the Browns’ New Right Tackle

    Jones entered the game after Conklin went down with roughly 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter against the Bengals. While Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said he still needs to watch the tape of Jones’ performance, he was pleased with the first-year tackle’s effort in Week 1.

    “Dawand, you know, obviously, you got to watch it,” Stefanski said. “As you know, rookies, you got to be ready to go. And here he is, Game 1. He’s in there.

    “I thought he performed admirably in throwing him in there in a tough spot. I could give you a better evaluation once I watch it, but seemed to block his guy.”

    Jones didn’t give up a single pressure on 20 pass-blocking snaps against Cincinnati, per Sam Monson of PFF. However, he might face a stiffer test when the Browns go up against the Steelers and T.J. Watt in Week 2.

    A controversial prospect heading into the 2023 NFL Draft season, Jones didn’t accept an invite to the Senior Bowl or work out at Ohio State’s Pro Day. At the NFL Combine, every one of Jones’ physical measurements — including his 6’8″ height and 374-pound weight — ranked first among all participants.

    Browns general manager Andrew Berry referred to Jones as a “human orca” after the draft.

    Once viewed as a potential first-round selection, Jones fell down draft boards due to concerns about his physical preparation, commitment to football, and work ethic. But Cleveland felt they came away with a steal after grabbing him with the 111th choice.

    “Very comfortable with taking him where we took him,” Browns director of player personnel Dan Saganey said after the draft.

    “Realistically, we spent a good amount of time with him. The Ohio State program has been great to us through the years sharing information. We’re very comfortable with our process with the person, and we’re excited to get him in.”

    Jones’ Pre-Draft Scouting Report

    Here’s a sample of PFN’s Ian Cummings’ pre-draft scouting report on Jones:

    “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.

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    “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.”

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