Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones is projected to go in the first half of the NFL Draft. After being selected to take part in the Senior Bowl last month, he is at the NFL Scouting Combine this week.
I am most certainly not there in Indianapolis, but Ken Laird of TribLive Radio is. So he sent me audio of a portion of DaQuan Jones’ session with the media there. I transcribed it for the benefit of all.
Jones, at times, looked dominating this past season for Penn State. He certainly has an NFL body and an NFL profile, and he’s gotten good instruction over his college career. It will be interesting to see how his pro career plays out.
Jones’ general impressions of the combine experience:
It’s been pretty cool. I’m really enjoying it, taking every moment in. It’s just, stuff like this comes around once-in-a-lifetime, so you have to take full advantage of it and take advantage of every opportunity. And being here and being able to meet the scouts and coaches and stuff like that, it’s just been really neat and I’m just enjoying it.
On his listed weight of 322:
Yeah, 322, and I’m going to work to get my weight down in the next month coming going into Pro Day. … Right now I’m at 322, I’m comfortable at it, I don’t feel heavy, I feel good, I move good, so I might stay there or I might move down, it’s really just up in the air right now.
On what it’s been like training in Pensacola, Fla., with, among others, former Penn State teammate Silas Redd:
It’s been pretty neat and him being at USC we didn’t really talk very much out there and so we found each other and hung out and it was like we didn’t even leave. It was pretty cool rooming with him and getting to catch up. It was neat.
On if he’d be open to playing nose tackle in the NFL:
I’ll do anything, really. It doesn’t matter what position I play. I played it at Penn State, played every position pretty much, so I am comfortable with it. So it really doesn’t matter what position I play.
On how his childhood shapes who he is today:
It’s played a big part. Just how I grew up, I don’t want to be going down the road a lot of my friends did and a lot of my family members. I really want to strive to go out and be better than that – and that’s what’s drove me to be where I am today.
On how he’s gone about doing that:
You’ve really got to surround yourself with good people, and my high school coaches really stepped up and were there for me and really just showed me the way and I just followed it and put my head down and went to work…. It motivates. I look back everyday, and I have three brothers to take care of – and I’m working for them, not just myself.
On changes Bill O’Brien brought to the program when he arrived two years ago, and why Jones stayed at Penn State when he did:
I wanted to stay there because (defensive line coach Larry Johnson) was still there. He wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided to stay, too. I talked to (former PSU standout defensive lineman) Jordan Hill, and he decided say. The majority of the defensive line guys wanted to stay, so I stayed. And Coach O’Brien coming in and his system really just helped me excel. I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me and our program. He is just a great coach.
On what he did to improve his hands and quickness between his junior and senior years:
I really was just working on my technique stuff because of Coach Johnson. I just worked on everything I could. My step, my hand placement, stuff like that. I spent all summer trying to work on that, and it paid off and it really help me my senior year.
On if he feels more comfortable as a “one-gap” or “two-gap” player:
Like I said, I’m open for anything. I really don’t feel any type of way (about it). At the Senior Bowl, I got to play the two-gap and really play a man and I’m comfortable with that, too. So I can play gap, man… whatever you want me to do and I’m comfortable with it.
On if he’d have any issues switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and back, or with multiple defensive fronts:
I have no issues because at Penn State we did that my senior year. We played a lot of 3-4 and 4-3, so that really helped me out… Whatever it is, I’m comfortable with everything.
On the NFL player he watches to model his game after:
To be honest with you, I don’t really follow NFL football like that because of where I grew up. In college, I tried to focus on just college football. I do watch and I love watching J.J. Watt, I watched him when he was at Wisconsin. That man – just how we gets after it, his motor, his strength, just to be able to dominate guys is amazing. And that’s probably the one guy I watch the most out of all the NFL guys.
On if he’s talked to any of the pipeline of Penn State defensive linemen who have gone on to the NFL before him:
I’ve talked to Jordan Hill the most because he recruited me and we’re close – he’s my best friend. He’s the only one I talk to, really, on a consistent basis about this process and what to expect… I’ve been told it’s very busy, very hectic – but at the same time, you’ve got to enjoy it.
On if it feels like work:
Actually being at the Senior Bowl helped me for this stuff. I’m kind of ready for it and prepared, but also it’s not bad, really. You just answer a few questions here and there and you’ve just got to be honest and you get to meet great guys.