2022 NFL Free Agency: Why the Cleveland Browns should sign D.J. Jones in free agency

The Cleveland Browns must revamp their defensive interior with the 2022 free agency period -- D.J. Jones could be one of their answers.

Many of us were excited about the Cleveland Browns in 2021, only to be disappointed after multiple injuries zapped Baker Mayfield’s ability to produce high-quality quarterback play. With Jadeveon Clowney testing free agency once again, it appears the Browns will need to reinforce the defensive line in the 2022 free agency period. A “wait-and-see” approach at defensive end might be the best practice, but the interior needs a lot of help. Thus, the Browns should sign D.J. Jones in free agency.

2022 NFL Free Agency: Why D.J. Jones is a fit for the Cleveland Browns

Jones was far too underrated throughout the 2021 season. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead get the recognition, but Jones was a massive reason for San Francisco’s success against the run and pass, particularly in the playoffs.

Malik McDowell and Malik Jackson played a lot of snaps on the defensive interior for Cleveland last season. However, both are free agents, and they could use an upgrade on the interior anyway.

That is where Jones steps in. Cleveland needs bodies on the interior, and as a primarily run-stopping defensive tackle, Jones won’t break the bank.

At just 27 years old, the Browns will be able to address an immediate need while also building for the foreseeable future.

Jones is a trash can full of dirt

There’s something about a defensive tackle that measures in the seventh percentile for height and 88th percentile for weight that gives me “the fizz.” That fizz is magnified by Jones testing well in speed and agility drills.

Have you ever tried to move a trash can full of sand or dirt? It’s nearly impossible. Only the truly blessed, or obsessed, weight-moving individuals could dream of lifting one. The low man doesn’t always win the leverage battle. Being short simply makes it easier to maintain neutral or lower pad levels.

Add in sufficient arm length, and we’re movin’ and groovin’ as a defensive tackle. There’s an excellent reason many draft Twitter scouts drooled over Poona Ford.

Jones is tough to move off his spot, and his hands can hit like a hammer as a pass rusher. But the best part about his game — and what makes him more valuable than most run-defending defensive tackles — is his traits result in plays made.

Typically, a player of Jones’ ilk will plug gaps and allow others to make plays around them. Jones disengages with the best of them and can do things himself in addition to keeping linebackers clean. He’s the complete package.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will take the next step for the Cleveland Browns

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was already a more well-rounded off-ball linebacker than I anticipated he’d be as a rookie. I knew the 220-pound LB would be a great coverage player, but I didn’t expect him to hold up in the box as well as he did.

Playing behind Jones would keep JOK clean more often. That means a heat-seeking missile can move freely from sideline to sideline and crash down into open gaps to make stops at and behind the line of scrimmage.

So, the addition of Jones is three-fold. He helps as an individual run defender, supports the second level with his ability to anchor against double teams, and is not a complete liability as a pass rusher.

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