With training camp fast approaching, we thought it would be a good time to showcase some of the UDFA’s that have a chance to make this roster.
The Tennessee Titans are going to look quite different on the defensive line in 2021. The losses of DaQuan Jones and Jack Crawford has opened up some opportunity for younger players. Jeffery Simmons is the star of this group, and general manager Jon Robinson brought in former Colts defensive tackle Denico Autry in hopes of adding more talent to this position.
The Titans didn’t draft a defensive lineman, but they signed an interesting undrafted free agent in former Michigan State DT Naquan Jones.
Jones comes in at 6-foot-3 and 313 pounds. He has excellent size for the position. He possesses the type of frame that could help command the middle of a defense. The Titans especially need a big body to step up in the absence of DaQuan Jones.
Naquan Jones has the potential to be that guy. He played in seven games in 2021 and recorded 24 tackles, including a career-high five tackles for loss. He played a total of 314 snaps as a senior. He appeared in 46 career games at Michigan State. Experience is not a problem here.
During draft prep, Jones proved that he carries his weight well, but the testing numbers leave a lot to be desired. He posted a 1.21 relative athletic score (RAS). His weight (313 pounds) was really the most impressive thing about him throughout the testing process.
Naquan Jones is a DT prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 1.21 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 1150 out of 1307 DT from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/d3k79LNNwJ #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/wvIRph3BJi— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 13, 2021
I would caution those who rule out Jones due to his poor athletic testing. Due to his size and the NFL role he would likely be asked to play, Jones could perform well without being the most athletic player on the field. His job would be to eat up blocks, take on double teams, impact the run game and free up the linebackers behind him to make plays. That’s what he did at Michigan State, and that potential is why the Titans are giving him a look here.
He’s a player to watch throughout training camp in my opinion. The Titans will be on the hunt for a young player or two to step up and prove that they deserve to play meaningful snaps on this defensive line in 2021. Whether that’s a UDFA like Jones, or a second-year player like Larrell Murchison or Teair Tart remains to be seen, but there’s no denying that Jones should get a great chance to prove himself in the coming weeks.