STRENGTHS - Jones has the ideal height, weight and frame for a 5-technique DE, and displays excellent quickness off the ball. He is very proficient and violent with his hands, which allows him to beat blockers with a variety of rips and swims. He also displays good short area quickness on stunts and spin moves, and at times appears un-blockable when his motor runs hot. He does a good job of sniffing out screens early and fighting off cut blocks with his hands.
WEAKNESSES - Jones lacks the speed to be an edge rusher, and struggles to consistently finish and close once out in space. At times, he appears to take plays off, content to let blockers tie him up at the LOS and drive or seal him off the ball when he is clearly physically capable of controlling the LOS. When he gets too high off the snap, he limits his COD ability and makes himself an easy target for blockers.
SUMMARY - Datone Jones was a frustrating player to evaluate at times because he has the physical gifts to be a dominant interior lineman against both the run and pass, but does not give consistent effort on every down. He displays excellent instincts off the snap, which allows him to penetrate interior gaps and wreak havoc into the backfield. He clearly possesses the natural strength to control and shed blockers at the LOS, but too often stands up at the snap and allows his man to get into his framework and dictate at the POA. His versatility will attract both 34 and 43 teams, but he is a natural fit at DE in a 34 and in a 43 could excel at LDE on run downs and slide inside to rush the passer on 3rd down. While his hot and cold motor is a concern, the reality is that he has the talent to be an impact player in the NFL, which is why I would use a first round pick to select him.