Ohio State fourth-year junior defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones could be gearing up for his NFL debut this weekend.
Instead, he chose last winter to remain as a Buckeye for an opportunity to participate in OSU’s Rushmen package, which would not only help the Ohio State defense win games, but would also significantly improve his draft stock.
This past Saturday, in his Rushmen debut, Jones didn’t disappoint.
In 31 snaps against Oregon State — all in the first half — Jones showcased his pass-rush abilities with a pair of sacks. One of which came in his 12 snaps in the Rushmen package.
Jones would have had a third sack if he had been just a split-second quicker than sophomore linebacker Pete Werner, who hit Beavers quarterback Conor Blount in the end zone, forcing a fumble which was scooped up by junior defensive end Nick Bosa.
Even without that third sack, however, Jones did pretty well for only seeing action in the first half of Ohio State’s 77-31 win over Oregon State.
“I did alright,” Jones said on Tuesday, underselling his performance completely.
The Rushmen package is designed specifically for passing downs and features the Buckeyes’ best pass rushers. Last year, Jones had to stand on the sideline and watch OSU trot out four very talented defensive ends. It wasn’t easy to sit by and see other players get after the quarterback, but now he is showing everyone what a year of pent-up pass rushing can do to a guy.
“All I want to do is play nickel, man,” he said. “That’s all I wanted to do. So I got that opportunity to and I’m going to keep showing my ability.
“It felt great. It felt like the only thing I had to do was pass rush and not worry about anything else, so it felt good to do that.”
Coming into last Saturday’s game, Dre’Mont Jones had one sack in his career, and it came last season against Penn State. Despite the lack of experience in handling the feeling of throwing the quarterback to the ground, Jones didn’t get lost in the euphoria.
“It feels really good. It’s hard to describe it,” he said. “It’s a moment thing. Once it happens, it’s over. It feels good to get a sack. Two, three, four, five is even better. They all feel great.”
Jones was already on the NFL’s radar just for how active he is as a defensive tackle on running downs. The assumption was always that he could rush the passer as well, even if the results weren’t quite there. Now, however, it looks like the results are going to be pouring in weekly, and that is only going to help the Buckeyes and Jones.
“Every time I’m out there, I’m out there to prove a point,” he said. “I’m not out there for no reason. It’s all about production and getting those stats and building my name for my future, for my family, for this team. That’s what it’s all about.
“It was refreshing. I wanted to prove to everybody that I could pass rush. I’m going to continue to prove that I can pass rush. That’s my goal this whole entire season, along with being stout in the run.”