Falcons second-year linebacker Deion Jones was rated the sixth-best sophomore in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, with an overall grade of 89.6.
Jones anchored a young but improved Falcons defense in 2017, and was selected to his first Pro Bowl as an alternate.
He was the 52nd overall pick in the 2016 draft out of LSU, and has led the Falcons in total tackles in his two seasons. His 19 combined pass breakups and interceptions in the last two years in the most among NFL linebackers.
Pro Football Focus points out Jones’ exceptional pass coverage as a reason for his lofty status. Jones coverage grade of 94.8 is the second-best mark ever recorded by a linebacker.
“His startling speed and athleticism allow him to match up against virtually any player on the field, as evidenced by his passer rating of just 52.6 he allowed when covering wide receivers, which is by far the best mark among linebackers with at least 10 targets while covering wide receivers,” PFF’s Mark Chichester wrote.