Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones graduated from high school in 2012; let that sink in for a minute. If you’re a thirty-something like me, that should make you feel really really old. After the so-called “draft pundits” got done chewing out the Falcons front office for “reaching” to select him in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Debo never looked back.
Fast forward a couple years and Debo is one of the NFL’s best linebackers. And as you probably already know, he thrives in coverage. Pro Football Focused released a list of the linebackers who produced the lowest passer rating when targeted in 2017. Spoiler alert: Jones ranked pretty high on that list.
5. Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons – 79.3
Jones ranked first in passes defended with six and was thrown at the second-most in the league, seeing 81 targets. He wrapped up a league-leading three interceptions among inside linebackers, tying with Kuechly, Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander, LA’s Mark Barron and Shazier in doing so.
It’s not like opposing quarterbacks took it easy on Debo in 2017. They tested him ... a lot. And he shut them down, because that’s just how talented he is. But you knew all this already, didn’t you? The question is whether all the opposing quarterbacks know it. And more to the point, whether they will take heed and start trying to avoid Debo going forward.