The Denver Broncos went looking to find an interior run stopper in free agency and found one the NFL’s best run defenders last season in former San Francisco 49ers’ lineman D.J. Jones. They signed him to a three-year, $30 million deal for a defensive lineman who Pro Football Focus said had the best run-stop percentage in the entire league.
#97 D.J. Jones
6’00”, 321 lbs.
Jones, 27, is entering his prime years after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
How he fits with the Broncos
Denver had issues stopping the run at the line last season and Jones should be able to help fix that. He can get after the quarterback too, but his primary area of excellence is blowing up run plays.
This was the most underrated play of the game imo— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) September 21, 2021
With Philadelphia facing a 3rd & 1 in 49ers territory, DJ Jones absolutely OBLITERATES this rush attempt up the middle to force a FG attempt
The FG attempt that was blocked by Kinlaw
Keeping the game within striking distance pic.twitter.com/XgPUZo4jHa
There will be some adjustment to the 3-4 alignment in Denver having from the base 4-3 in San Francisco, but once he finds his groove this man should be a human wrecking ball along the trenches.
DJ Jones is definitely at the top of my list if we look to FA to plug holes and try to fix the run defense. Big, powerful 3t with great balance against doubles, good hands, good eyes and shows enough traits that can translate to a gap and a half defense. pic.twitter.com/ySDbZ5DMTd— Robby (@DavisBreakdowns) March 9, 2022
“Dominate here,” Jones said in May. “I feel like I made a mark in San Francisco, but I think it’s time to bring that here and help this community and help this team. I’m here to do whatever they need me to do.”
He was asked later what kind of pressure he might feel being asked to stop the run when Denver’s defense needs to drop eight in coverage during games.
“It’s not too much pressure,” Jones said. “We’re d-linemen, and that’s what you’re supposed to do from the jump. You’re supposed to stop the run. I think we have the perfect group to be able to do that as long as we stay healthy and keep our minds on the goal.”
That’s the kind of blue collar mentality that the big guys in the trenches tend to carry. They beat each other up every snap of the game and never stop working at winning their individual battles.
While it’ll be pretty exciting to see Jones get a sack now and then, his true impact will be felt in the run defense. Having a guy like him inside who can be counted on to be there to stop or limit a ball carrier to shorter gains will help put the secondary in favorable down and distance in later passing downs.
He’s definitely an underrated addition to the defense and a guy we should keep an eye on all season long.