Titans tab Eastern Michigan defensive lineman in second round

Saturday, April 26, 2008 at 8:26pm

The Tennessee Titans added to their defensive line by drafting defensive tackle Jason Jones of Eastern Michigan with their second-round pick, the 54th overall choice in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Jones, 6-5, 270, had 104 career tackles and has recorded 30.5 career tackles-for-loss and 10.5 career sacks.

The Titans will likely give Jones a chance at defensive end, where the team lost Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy in free agency. Tennessee signed Jevon Kearse in the off-season, but was looking for another end to pair with him.

Jones has plenty of versatility, however, and the Titans could also give him a look at defensive tackle as well.

“That’s up to the Tennessee Titans. I’m a very versatile defender. In college, I played both, but mostly inside,” Jones said.

He is expected to start out as an and could eventually make the switch to full-time tackle down the line.

“He can eventually move down inside, and he’s an athlete and he’s smart.” Titans coach Fisher said. “He weighs much more than Antwan did. He weighs in the high 270s, low 280s and could weigh more than that by the time camp starts.”

Jones actually began his college career as a tight end. His only football offer was to Eastern Michigan, in part because he was also a basketball standout in high school.

Even after making the switch to defense his sophomore year of college, the Titans believe Jones is advanced enough at the position to earn a job in their rotation as early as this season.

“Good defensive linemen, those with height, weight and speed characteristics, but that can also play and do the things we’re looking for, are hard to find,” Fisher said. “We watched Jason very closely, … and we got in this situation where this was the right guy at the right time. As it relates to him, he’s going to be able come in and play right away. It’s not going to be a developmental thing.”

Still, Jones knows he will have some work to do with defensive line coach Jim Washburn as he makes the transition from the Mid-American Conference to the NFL.

“I’m a very raw person right now, but I feel with his help and my athletic ability, we can make things happen,” Jones said.

Jones made a pre-draft visit to Baptist Sports Park, where he met Kyle Vanden Bosch. He looks forward to playing on the same line as Vanden Bosch, Kearse and Albert Haynesworth.

“I’m going to come in here and there are veterans I can learn from. They’re hard workers, especially Vanden Bosch,” Jones said.

Filed under: Sports