The Cleveland Browns made a huge investment on draft day in the form of 6-foot-8, 374-pound Dawand Jones out of The Ohio State University. Jones makes everyone around him look small.
It was easy to see him in the huddle last Thursday night, towering over even the biggest players the Browns and Jets have. While size is something you want in an offensive lineman, there have been concerns about Jones's weight in combination with his desire and passion for football. The coaching staff sent a big message to the big man in his first NFL action.
First impressions matter, and Jones made a good one for everyone in and outside the organization. The coaching staff also should have made an impression on him and what it takes to be an NFL tackle.
They didn't remove Jones from the game once. He played all 74 snaps on offense. After struggling at the start of camp and working to get to where he is now, it's great to see him show the ability to hold up for an entire game. This is a player that learned a tough lesson at the start of minicamp and now has shined in his first live-action.
The Browns and everyone else knows what they have from a talent perspective in Jones. The best thing to hear is now they are impressed with how far he has come in such a short time.
"I really thought his pass protection took some major steps," offensive line coach Bill Callahan said. "He still has a long way to go yet. We're still working on the run technique aspects of his play to make him a more complete player, but it was good to see him perform under the lights against good competition, taking third down sets, which are so critical to protection." — Doc Louallen, Cleveland Browns Website
While it's clear that Jones has some work to do and this was against lesser competition, the excitement is based on talent and showing he could hold up under the pressure of 74 snaps.
For now, that's a successful step forward, and we hope the growth continues going forward. Jones has a chance to be special with his combination of athleticism and size. He needs to continue to put in work and show us how much he wants to be great.
Here's hoping the NFL is talking about the steal of the draft at this time next year.