The first-round pick for the Las Vegas Raiders this year should indeed be used to get a quarterback. Whether it’s trading for Aaron Rodgers or trading up in the draft, it’s what this team desperately needs right now. With the early second-round pick in Las Vegas, Dawand Jones would be an excellent pairing in Josh McDaniels’ offense. Jones is a unicorn of a prospect and one of the more interesting case studies this year. Here, we explain why he could be a great selection at pick 38.
Raiders Scouting: Dawand Jones’ Background
Dawand Jones will be entering the draft as a true senior and measured in at a staggering 6’8″ and 374 pounds at the NFL Combine. Coming out of high school, Jones was a gifted two-sport athlete, playing basketball and football. He was a four-star recruit per ESPN and committed to Ohio State in 2019. As a freshman and sophomore, he only saw a combined 64 reps. He started in 2021, when he had his best overall season. In 2022, we all saw incremental improvements in pass protection.
Dawand Jones is an absolute specimen, recently breaking the Senior Bowl record for wingspan at 89.5″. His arm length is also in the 95th percentile among OTs. He can use his absurd arm length to overwhelm pass rushers and utilize devastating trap moves. In 2022, he had an astonishingly low number of sacks and hits given up, at zero per Pro Football Focus. Furthermore, the power in his arms is lethal, as he can redirect defensive linemen as if they were rag dolls.
On top of that, he possesses imposing power in his punches. If he gets his hands on the D-lineman’s chest, that rep is over. The drive he gets when run-blocking downhill is quite incredible. Only a few O-lineman prospects from the past decade who could outrank him in that regard come to mind. In addition, he gets an impressive kick slide for being so big and is capable of sustaining blocks on the move. Jones is also a knowledgeable player who understands his strengths and weaknesses.
Dawand Jones really is Trent Brown if he ate a boulder pic.twitter.com/agWjvBHWqi
— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) March 3, 2023
Jones is enormous in all respects; he is very top-heavy and has sluggish feet. Because he is so top-heavy and gets over his toes, he gets off balance easily and can be thrown to the ground. He also struggles to redirect when reacting to stunts and twists. Due to his tightness, explosive and bendy EDGE’s will match up well against him. Additionally, he needs to handle inside counters better. His hand technique in pass-pro could be more desirable. Lastly, one of the downsides to drafting Jones is that he almost certainly has to be a tackle. He is too tall to play interior, and if he doesn’t work out at tackle, there is no backup plan.
The Perfect RT For McDaniels’ Offense
Many should know McDaniels runs a primarily gap-centric scheme. Over the years, he started throwing in wider zone run plays, but Jones is surprisingly capable of executing them. Nonetheless, if it couldn’t seem more obvious, Jones would be a terrific fit in this offense. He is undeniably one of the best gap-scheme run blockers in this class. While Jones still needs development, he’s capable of starting on Day 1. He is a first- or second-round talent and could easily see himself falling to the Raiders in round two. If he reaches his upside, it will make for one of the most remarkable tackle duos in the league.
*Top Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sports Wire via Getty Images