The Seahawks drafted defensive tackle Nazair Jones out of North Carolina 102nd overall after adding DT Malik McDowell in the second round. Will we see Jones in the rotation in year one?
The Seahawks gave their defensive line and their defensive backfield an injection of youth in last month’s NFL Draft. With several players on defensive line rotation already, will we see 102nd overall pick Nazair Jones in the mix come Week One?
Before we go any further, we have to acknowledge Jones’ fascinating backstory: The morning after a playoff game in high school, Jones inexplicably lost the use of his legs. By the time doctors at the University of North Carolina came up with a diagnosis, Jones hadn’t recovered his ability to walk.
The doctors decided Jones had Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which now requires him to take medication daily. Months of rehabilitation and strength training got him back on the field for the Tar Heels. He graduated as the best defensive linemen for UNC’s defense and declared for the draft after his senior season. He waited until deep into the third round for his name to be called.
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Who better indeed to introduce Jones than one of his indirect competitors for playing time on the defensive line. While Cliff Avril will be on the field rushing the passer from his defensive end spot and likely has his role secured, the Seahawks depth on the edge will cause the two defensive tackle spots to be hotly contested.
Jones made his name at UNC by being a disruptive force against the run, frequently coming away from blocking attempts unimpeded. Even though he may lack the pass-rush moves to get around NFL guards and centers, he’s not afraid to hand fight and battle. At 6’5″, 304 pounds, he’ll get in the way of a few passes, as well.
Just for kicks, check out this meticulous fan art:
Jones is another big body to plug into the defensive line rotation, and another feel-good story from this year’s NFL Draft for the Seahawks.