The San Francisco 49ers spent a sixth round pick on defensive tackle D.J. Jones in part because has strong athleticism and short area quickness for a man his size (6’1, 319 pounds). He has some work to do to climb up the depth chart, but if he can put together more plays like latter one in the video above (here if you can’t see it above), he’ll be impressing some of the right people.
Jones faced off against Tim Barnes in a pair of pass-rush drills. In the first one, Barnes gets his hands in Jones’ face, and while the defensive tackle pushed the center back, he did not get around him.
In the second one however, Jones has no trouble with Barnes. At the snap, Jones seems to gesture to the left with a swim move using his right arm, and then quickly spin back the other way. As he spins back around, he uses his left elbow to shove Barnes to the ground and get to the quarterback.
It’s only one play, but it shows some of the skills that got him drafted in the first place. Right now, Earl Mitchell and Quinton Dial are both ahead of Jones on the depth chart. It remains to be seen how quickly Jones will be able to move up the depth chart, and what it might mean for Dial.
I could see both sticking around, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one of them was released by the end of camp (barring a Dial trade). If it’s Jones, he would seem to be a strong candidate for the practice squad, but he could also be claimed off waivers by another defensive line needy team. I suppose this is getting a little ahead of ourselves, but it is going to be an interesting competition over the next month.