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.
Louisiana defensive coordinator Lamar Morgan says he'll play Andre Jones at outside LB and inside LB. "We owe it to him to move him around."— Scott Prather (@ScottMimic) August 4, 2022
"His length and effort to the ball us unmatched."
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).
Edge/LB— Schmitty Takes (@UTee_Time) April 19, 2023
- Again, versatility … looking for a skill set that can maintain gap discipline, hold up against the run, rush the passer, and drop into coverage (giving the ability to flex into a 3-4 defense when needed)
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.
Louisiana’s Andre Jones with a sweet club-dip to beat Georgia Southern’s left tackle for a strip sack—long and athletic pass rusher with NFL talent. Ragin’ Cajuns have dominated tonight. pic.twitter.com/lcEANRKCZu— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) November 11, 2022
1-on-1s: Louisiana EDGE Andre Jones vs. British Columbia OL Theo Benedet pic.twitter.com/WFnaLLrrzQ— Nick Cothrel (@NickCothrel) January 29, 2023
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.
Louisiana LB Andre Jones on working with the Patriots at the Shrine Bowl:— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) March 1, 2023
"Some people might say it's all business, but I feel like it's serious. They just want the best. That's how I look at it. ... People might think they too serious, but I like it. That's how I was coached." pic.twitter.com/M4LP5UR25h
Added: "Everybody has to do their jobs."— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) March 1, 2023
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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