De’Vondre Campbell stole the show last night with his highlight reel interception, but Deion Jones turned in a great effort in his own right on a limited number of snaps. It seems like a fair bet that he’ll build on that.
Last year, Jones was arguably one of the best linebackers in football, mixing blazing speed with playmaking ability and sound tackling. He was certainly the team’s best defender aside from Vic Beasley, and given that he accomplished that in his rookie season, Jones was always a good bet to kick ass in his second year.
As you’ll note below, Debo did great work last night in an area where he wasn’t necessarily destined to be successful coming out of college: Against the run.
Deion Jones made a huge impact in very limited duty against the run tonight pic.twitter.com/qI6UoTe2rt— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 11, 2017
If Jones can carry this kind of performance over to the regular season—and make no mistake, he can—then he’s probably going to be a Pro Bowler this season. There is no ceiling on how good the gifted second year linebacker can be, but if he can pair the turnovers he was known for a year ago with the kind of run defense he hasn’t quite gotten recognition for yet, he also might be the team’s best defender in 2017.
That’s high praise for a small slice of preseason action, but this is the rare case where I think it tells a story we should take very seriously.