That was a long time ago, and as it turns out, Deion Jones can play. Former NFL player, NFL scout, and current NFL analyst Bucky Brooks was impressed with his play against the Washington Redskins. It was only 31 snaps, but the speedy rookie looked at home making plays in the middle of the defense.
Coach Dan Quinn added Jones, a second-round pick, to inject some speed and athleticism to the Falcons' defense. The rookie flashed big-time speed and quickness flowing from sideline to sideline, finishing Thursday's game against the Redskins with five tackles and a pass breakup. Most impressively, Jones looks like a tone-setter in the middle of the retooled defense.
I don't think that there is any question that Jones is an athletic improvement over current middle linebacker Paul Worrilow. The only questions were whether he could adjust to the speed of the game and add weight quick enough to make an impact. In 31 snaps he made a big impact and looks to have a real shot at sending Worrilow to the WLB spot, if not the bench entirely.
I was personally even more surprised with rookie De'Vondre Campbell who made a ton of impact plays against Washington. On some drives he was a one-man wrecking crew, embodying every part of Dan Quinn's fast and physical M.O.
If both Jones and Campbell can earn starting spots, the Falcons may have the most improved linebacker corps in the entire league.