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A closer look at Andre Jones Jr.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Louisiana at Liberty Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Like a lot of seventh round picks, background on Andre Jones Jr. - the EDGE rusher out of Louisiana that Washington took in this year’s draft - is scattered and not necessarily as comprehensively available as it is for players picked earlier in the draft. Here, I’ve tried to compile information and accounts from some of the best sources that I could find.

While Jones was nominally referred to as an EDGE rusher when he was initially selected by the Commanders, that really belies the breadth of how he was used both in college, and how Ron Rivera likely sees him playing in his defense in the pros.

In college, Jones was characterized by his “versatility,” a descriptor that most fans recognize as one of Rivera’s favorites:

In UL’s odd-man front, he has lined up at both outside linebacker and edge rusher, allowing him to have a plethora of responsibility in the Cajuns’ defensive scheme. He has experience taking backs in the flats as well as knocking tight ends off routes.

But it’s apparent Jones makes his money rushing the passer and the 6-foot-4, 248-pounder has more than enough athleticism and strength to shed blockers before finishing at the point of attack.

This description of Jones’ college skillset aligns almost perfectly with how Rivera seems to want defensive versatility to translate to players on the line (and it continues to make the case about how Washington’s 2023 draft was about scheme fit over almost everything else).

The key takeaway from Rivera:

“[With backend versatility at Buffalo Nickel/safety positions] then you need a little more flexible defensive end that can drop into coverage on occasion, because now a team wants to come in and they want to be big against you, well you can go, technically, to a 3-4 front, and now that’s requiring more from the offense.”

That said, Jones was highly effective as a pass rusher last year, posting 7.5 sacks, 32 pressures, 20 hurries, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery, earning him a Shrine Game invite and second-team All Sun Belt honors as a sixth-year senior.

As a junior, Jones had 6 sacks, 45 pressures, and 33 hurries.

Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network offered the following about Jones:

Explosive pass-rushing college defender who has been productive over the past three seasons. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Explosive and shows plenty of athleticism in his game. Instinctive and plays assignment football.

Quickly diagnoses plays, easily changes direction, and moves well laterally. Strong for his size, stands up blockers to allow teammates to make plays on the ball, and doesn’t give up on the action. Disciplined with coverage assignments and can flip his hips, drop off the line, and cover running backs in the short field.

He projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker and will be a situational pass rusher on Sundays who is also used on special teams.

At Louisiana, Jones played on the interior of the d-line, as well as dropping back into coverage occasionally. The video below well represents the range of his utilization.

His success dives much deeper than a box score shows, as his presence on the outside shoulder of both the left and right tackle forces offenses to often run opposite. While he isn’t the biggest, most physical edge-setter in the class, his knack for slipping off blockers to make tackles near the line of scrimmage has been apparent throughout his lengthy collegiate career.

In addition to his on-the-field capabilities, Jones seems to have the mental composition of a Rivera-type player: Committed to playing within the constraints of what his coaches are looking for, and recognizing that his role is critical to the functioning of the larger unit.

With Washington’s defense absolutely loaded, it’s tough to see exactly how Jones will fit into the mix this year, but with most of the defensive ends reaching free agency after the 2023 season, it’s easy to see how a year of seasoning could slot him in to backfill a player like Efe Obada, Casey Toohill, or William Bradley-King.


Do you think that Andre Jones will make the 53-man roster to begin the 2023 season?

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