Chargers Prospect Analysis: D-Line, Part IV

Jaime Cattano continues her five-part series analyzing the defensive line prospects the Chargers met with during Senior Bowl week. Today's prospect is a versatile defender who could bolster depth at both defensive end and outside linebacker.

Jason Jones of Eastern Michigan met with the Chargers coaching staff for a private meeting during Senior Bowl week. The Bolts have a void to fill on the D-line and Jones, with a little molding, has the potential to fill the gap.

Jones (6'4", 270 pounds) began his career with the Eagles as a tight end before moving to defensive line midway through his freshman season.

"Right now, I'm projecting myself as a 4-3 defensive end," he said.

Ted Cotrell might see things differently. If Jones joined the Chargers' roster, he would be a hybrid linebacker-defensive end, similar to Mathias Kiwanuka of the New York Giants.

Jones closed his college career with a bang. As a senior, he finished fourth on the team with 70 tackles and was named first team All Conference. He recorded 14 sacks for 101 yards during his four-year college career.

During the week in Mobile, Ala., the Oakland Raiders coaching staff played Jones at both defensive end and outside linebacker, giving him an opportunity to play in space.

"At first, it was kind of nerve racking and I was in there sweating a little bit," he said.

Jones' quick footwork and position assimilation resulted in private meetings with several teams, including the Chargers. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks all went one-on-one with the rising star.

Jones believes his strong showing at the Senior Bowl was just the tip of the iceberg. He had been away from the game for two months and needed some time to shake off the rust.

"I haven't played since November, so everything was new coming out here," said Jones from Mobile. "Putting the pads on again felt kind of weird, but once I got out there it was all okay."

He did more than okay. Excelling in several positions, he displayed incredible athleticism and compliance. This diamond in the rough could protect the Chargers on many levels.

Two of the Chargers' starting defensive linemen -- NT Jamal Williams and DE Luis Castillo -- were plagued with injuries this past season. Additionally, OLB Carlos Polk went down with a shoulder injury in November. Jones' ability to transition from linebacker to defensive end allows him to provide depth at both of those positions.

The Chargers will be hard-pressed to pass on Jones if he slides to round five. That is where Chargers expert Michael Lombardo projects San Diego to pick him up in his Chargers draft projections.

"I'm a hard-worker and I won't get in trouble off the field," Jones said. "I'm willing to try anything right now. I just want to learn."

The motivation to learn and excel at any position only increases his odds of landing in San Diego this April.



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