The Cleveland Browns have announced their unofficial Week 2 depth chart vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, and rookie tackle Dawand Jones looks to get his first career start. After Jack Conklin went down with a season-ending ACL and MCL tear, Jones was thrust into the lineup against the Bengals and got his first regular-season snaps.
Jones looked great in his first regular season game as he allowed zero pressure, hurries, and sacks and is currently tied for first with a 100 percent pass block win rate. This level of play against a good Bengals defensive line featuring Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson.
The rookie came out and instantly looked like a stud as he bullied the Bengal's pass rush all game. Even receiving praise from Browns Hall of Famer Joe Thomas. However, in his first career start, he is going to face one of the best players the NFL has to offer — T.J. Watt.
No matter what Browns fans may think of him, Watt is really good at football. In Week 1 the Steelers were demolished by the San Francisco 49ers. In their 30-7 loss Watt still tallied three sacks and two forced fumbles.
In his career against the Browns, he has 15 sacks and has only had one game where he didn't reach the quarterback. Essentially, Watt is a game-wrecker, and neutralizing him is key if the Browns want to break the streak of regular season losses in Pittsburgh.
Jones is going to have his hands very full on Monday night. The good news is that he will not be alone in trying to block Watt. Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward is out so the Browns can put more focus and double teams on Watt.
This will be a tough matchup either way for Jones, and it's hard to see if he continues his streak of not allowing a sack, pressure, or hurry. However, if he does manage to shut down or severely dampen Watt's effect on the game. Jones will solidify himself as a middle-round hit, and show why he should've been drafted a lot earlier than he was.
Jones is the player to watch Monday night, and there should be no doubt in anyones minds. If he does not look good and is getting beat on pass rushes. The offense may not be able to get anything going, at least in the passing game. Which may result in having a close scoring game with an inferior Steelers team.
The rookie has a chance to catapult himself into a star right tackle and a franchise player if he is able to continue his streak of dominance against a top pass-rusher.