As rumors about contract extension talks for Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones continue, ESPN published a ranking where NFL executives, coaches and scouts voted on the league’s best defensive tackle.
Unsurprisingly, Jones was near the top. He ranked second behind Los Angeles Rams’ defensive stud Aaron Donald. According to ESPN, one NFL exec had high praise for Jones.
“One-on-one matchups, he has a natural answer for everything,”
But not everyone spoke as glowingly. Another unnamed executive was not impressed with Kansas City’s star defensive lineman.
“I think a lot of his production is inflated,” the exec said. “And he’s not always consistent against the run.”
So where did Jones actually rank when his on-field performance is compared to other defensive tackles who were apparently more “consistent”?
In 2022, Jones had 15.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus credited him with 77 total pressures and a pass-rushing grade of 92.2, which was second only to only to Dexter Lawrence of the New York Giants — which is itself suspect, considering Jones had 14 more pressures (and 6.5 more sacks) than Lawrence.
What about the elephant in the room: Jones’ run defense? In 2022, PFF gave him a run defense grade of 78.0. That isn’t a world-beating number, but it ranked sixth among qualifying interior defensive linemen. Last season, Jones was one of just three interior linemen to earn a pass-rushing grade of at least 85 and a rush-defense grade of at least 75.
What about Jones’ consistency? He collected 15.5 sacks in 11 games. Only the New York Jets’ Quinnen Williams recorded a sack in as many of last year’s games as Jones did.
Were his stats inflated? Nobody had a better pass rush win rate against double-teams last season — and it’s not even close.
Double team rate at defensive tackle (x) by pass rush win rate at defensive tackle (y) for the 2022 NFL season.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) January 13, 2023
(ESPN / NFL Next Gen Stats) pic.twitter.com/wXJS0c5CdV
There simply aren’t many players who are 6 feet 6 and 310 pounds who can move with the speed, power and agility that Jones does. Add in the fact that he is a leader in the locker room? You have an All-World player.
Whoever called Jones’ play “inconsistent” is either drinking too much Haterade or hasn’t watched him play in a few years.