J’Terius Jones was one of the standouts of the 2017 preseason, and a player the Falcons elected to keep around all of last year. With that time and now a full offseason to prove himself, the hope was that Jones would show enough to stick on the roster as the team’s fifth defensive end.
Instead, he’ll look to either catch on with another team or re-join the Falcons practice squad, as he’ll reportedly be cut. Jones had a solid enough but quiet preseason, and apparently the lack of concrete steps forward in his development was enough to convince Atlanta to move on.
I’m hopeful Jones will be back on the practice squad, because he is talented. He showed genuine pass rushing chops last offseason and is a quick defender who came into the NFL with the technical ability to succeed. In training camp and in preseason 2018, however, he struggled to get off of blocks and make an impact. He probably needs more time to develop and more opportunity for playing time to do it, and both of those are going to be hard to come by in Atlanta without an injury.
This cut increases the chances that the Falcons will go into the season with only four true defensive ends on the roster, with the last defensive line position likely to be taken up by either Garrison Smith or Justin Zimmer. We’ll see if they sniff around the veteran defensive end market once the cuts have all settled out.
We’ll wish him well, wherever he lands. The Falcons have now cut or will reportedly cut ties with 10 players, leaving quite a few between now and tomorrow at 4 p.m.