Finding 2021 NFL Draft fits for the Cincinnati Bengals: DE Patrick Jones II

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 21: (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 21: (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Bengals had a paltry 17 sacks in 2020. The defensive line failed to provide a serious threat to opposing quarterbacks.

With that in mind, reinforcements at defensive end should be high on the shopping list come draft day. One prospect that the Bengals may have interest in is Pittsburgh edge rusher Patrick Jones II.

Jones joined the Panthers program as a three-star signee but the number one defensive end in Virginia. It wasn’t until his redshirt junior season in 2019 that Jones established himself as a key piece on defense. Recording 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss Jones showed his ability to get into the backfield.

In 2020 Jones was a captain on one of the toughest defenses in the ACC. Led by the dominant pass-rushing duo of Jones and Rashad Weaver, the Pitt defense was top 20 in total defense and gave up the fourth least yards per carry. Jones himself led the conference with nine sacks.

Having bulked up to 260lbs during his college career, a gain of 25lbs, Jones has begun to fill out his 6’5 frame. Not only is Jones a strong pass rusher but he was also strong against the run. Jones is more than a lean speedster off the edge.

How the draft analysts currently rank Jones

The further you get down the draft rankings the more varied opinions become. That is particularly true in the case of Jones. His stock is as high as 62nd overall with the Draft Network, who have him as their ninth-ranked edge prospect.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Jones sneaking in his top 100, ranked 99th, while Pro Football Focus is lower than most on the Pitt Panther. PFF ranks Jones 128th and as a fourth-round prospect at best. The best description of what Jones offers but also the concerns surrounding him is from Joe Marino of the Draft Network:

"As a pass rusher, Jones II is hard-charging out of his stance and brings a good variety of moves to the table. He’s a smart run defender that competes for his gap, processes quickly, and understands how to counter blocks. The concerns with Jones II entering the next level is his lean frame, modest length, and the need to continue developing his hand technique."