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Hidden Gems: Truman Jones can stand out by doing it all

The Ivy League pass rusher brings a unique skillset to the Chiefs.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Harvard at Yale Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Shortly after the 2023 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs wasted no time adding undrafted free agents to their roster. Among this group of players was Harvard's Truman Jones. Late in the draft cycle, I actually wrote about Jones and what made him an exciting prospect.

While that was just a brief synopsis of what Jones could bring to the table, further investigation into his film and player profile reveals a uniquely versatile prospect who can do whatever is asked of him. He sometimes seems like an excellent fit for the Chiefs' scheme and the culture.

An all-around player

Jones was the Ivy League player of the year — in part due to his versatility and disruption. With his team defending the red zone late in their matchup against an FCS-ranked Holy Cross team, Jones showed what kind of player he is in just three plays.

Holy Cross wants to try to pound the ball in and run power. The right guard pulling with the intent to "kick out" Jones and lead the way for the running back. Jones initially appears that he is about to brace for a significant impact, but at the last second, he slips underneath the block to stop the running back.

There was no gain on the play, while Jones was willing to stop the run.

With 6.0 sacks during the 2023 campaign to go along with 13 tackles for loss, Jones was the most disruptive player in the Ivy League. He used his high football IQ and pass-rush ability on the second down of this goal-line stand.

The Holy Cross quarterback fakes like he is about to run the ball off the snap before dropping back. Jones does not bite on the fake, and recognizing that the man lined up across from him is a fullback (not an offensive tackle), he quickly overwhelms him with a power move and rips his way to the inside gap to jump on the quarterback.

This sack set up a massive third-down play. While most would assume Jones might gear up for one more rush, he had other plans.

The quarterback for Holy Cross, Matthew Sluka, recorded 10 rushing touchdowns during his 2022 campaign and was a threat to scramble inside of 10 yards if his initial read was covered.

Jones knows this, and — off of the snap — he drops into a spy on Sluka. He is assigned to play only the quarterback toward the middle of the field.

Sluka makes his read, and he looks to move the ball when it isn't there. Jones recognizes this and blasts off. The quick burst to the ball is excellent, and he has no trouble bringing down Sluka.

This three-play sequence showed that not only was Jones a step above the rest of his competition for most of his career but also that he was as much of a cerebral player as he was a physical one. Having a knack for making big plays in big situations can always carry weight when compared to others.

Special teams

Not only was Jones a defensive standout, but he made an impact on special teams as well. Blocking three field goals in 2023 (and four total in his career), his motor ran hot and created massive momentum swing for his team.

There isn't much to break down on this play other than the fact that Jones is going 100 miles per hour, much like he does on every play. This play took three points off the board of the opposing team while creating a massive shift in momentum for Harvard.

Jones was a mainstay on the field goal block team but did not play any other phases of special teams. That does not mean he can't play them. Given his high aptitude and good athletic ability, it is not totally out of the question that Jones could find a way to be a four-phase special teams contributor in Kansas City.

At 6'3" and 250 lbs., he is built like a hybrid classic defensive end and outside linebacker but has the athletic testing and skills needed to play on special teams.

With good open-field tackling and a good 40-yard dash for his size (4.68 seconds), he could instantly be a contributor on the kickoff and punt teams, and if he learns the proper technique, he could become a contributor as a blocker on the kickoff and punt return teams.

His short-area burst and closing ability could also help him to continue to block not only field goals but also punts.

The bottom line

Like most undrafted free agents, Jones will have a tough battle just to make the practice squad, let alone the active roster. While the defensive end and linebacker rooms will be stocked full of talent from free agency and the draft class, Jones must find a way to stand out.

He can do so by showcasing his versatility, effort and aptitude during the offseason training sessions and once training camp starts.

In some ways, Jones feels very similar to his now-teammate, Mike Danna, regarding what he brings to the table. Both are "do-it-all” players and are held in high regard by their coaches and teammates for what they bring to the table on and off the field.

With Danna being a free agent after the 2023 season, there is a possibility that the Chiefs keep Jones in the building to continue to develop while becoming Danna's replacement in 2024.

While he is indeed a long shot to make the team, Jones has all the makings of a practice squad player to keep an eye on over the course of the next year.

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