Dawand Jones came into Sunday's matchup with the Steelers having spent all week on the Browns' injury report with a knee and shoulder injury. Nothing was going to keep him from being out there for his team on Sunday.
While some most fans may have believed his availability would mean he'd be lining up at right tackle on every snap, the coaching staff had other plans for Jones, rotating him with veteran James Hudson III throughout the game. Despite playing through some injuries, Jones did everything in his power slow down one of the league's best in T.J. Watt.
It became evident early on that Jones was subbing in for the majority of obvious passing situations with a focus on limiting Watt. That means Watt knew what was coming every time Jones entered the game. That didn't stop the rookie from having a notable day in their head-to-head matchup, in what was just his seventh career game.
Dawand Jones vs. TJ Watt in week 11:— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) November 20, 2023
19 pass-blocking matchups
0 sacks allowed
0 pressures allowed (beaten once)
Jones wasn't just up for the task, he dominated it. Against Watt on Sunday he had 19 pass blocking snaps and didn't surrender a single sack or pressure to the former defensive player of the year. He would finish the day with a PFF grade of 68.9, good for third-best on Cleveland's offense.
Watt did end up registering one sack on the afternoon but that was rushing against Hudson III.
Not only has Jones been a pleasant surprise for the Browns but he is legitimately in the discussion for Rookie of the Year. Despite losing Jack Conklin in Week 1 to a season-ending injury, the offensive line has barely missed a beat with Jones filling in for him. It is amazing that "Big Thanos" dropped all the way to the 4th round where the Browns were able to select him.
Jones' first game was in Week 2 against the Steelers and the growth even from then is evident. Browns legend and Hall of Famer Joe Thomas spoke today on Cleveland Browns Daily and expressed just how impressed he was with the Ohio State product. In a tweet he shared some thoughts on one specific play where Jones was matched up with Watt and provided praise for the rookie.
The snatch! What great reactions by Big Thanos! That’s usually only something you develop 5/6 years into your career.— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) November 20, 2023
The benefit of size, DEs have to lean much harder on you to create push, which gets them off balance and opens them up to a tackle snatching them to the… https://t.co/p1CAJW2DFI
Cleveland struck gold with their pick of Dawand Jones. He is continuing to prove that he more than belongs in this league and he may have already cemented himself as the Browns tackle of the future.