The Bengals have a handful of late round and undrafted rookies who are getting a lot of attention.
Toledo’s Logan Woodside has received some high praise as a passer. Ohio State linebacker Chris Worley was a favorite of Bengals fans for months leading up to the draft. And Florida State’s Auden Tate is already making headlines on the Bengals’ offseason practices.
One player who is less talked about, could have the best chance of becoming a future star is Arkansas State’s Ja’Von Rolland-Jones.
Arkansas State is not exactly a football powerhouse and Rolland-Jones’ 6’2” 253 frame does not make him a colossus , but he did have monster production throughout his time in college.
In his four years at Arkansas State, he amassed 42 sacks and had 13 sacks in each of his last two seasons. He has the traits and skill set to become an excellent compliment to the Bengals’ already impressive pass rush.
In the first clip, Rolland-Jones gets great extension with his inside arm. This takes the offensive tackle out of the play as Rolland-Jones’ extension makes him unable to get his hands on him.
A little tug on the tackle’s jersey and he is on the ground allowing Rolland-Jones to get the edge and make it to the quarterback .
Here, Rolland-Jones strikes the offensive tackle before the tackle can get his hand on him. He has great hand placement and roles his hips through. The power in his hips helps Rolland-Jones push the tackle into the backfield where he sacks the quarterback.
In these first two clips, Jones has demonstrated that he has the strength and athletic ability to be a productive pass rusher in the NFL. The next few clips will show his skill as a pass rusher.
Arm extension and power can only get you so far in the NFL. A well developed pass rusher must have a strong repertoire of pass rush moves to disengage from the blocker and make a play on the quarterback. Rolland-Jones has the ability to make these moves inside and out.
The clip below shops his swim move. He sets up the tackle to the outside before swimming over the inside shoulder with his outside arm. He follows through with his swim and shows great speed on his way to the quarterback.
In the clip below, he shows he has the speed and athleticism to rush the edge. He dips and rips with his inside shoulder leaning on the offensive tackle. He bends around the edge finishing at the quarterback.
In this clip, Rolland-Jones sets on the tackle by stemming towards the inside then clubs the outside shoulder with his outside hand before stepping through this his inside foot. There is a subtlety to this that is really impressive. He threatens the inside gap just enough to prevent the tackle from setting deep.
This creates a nice short edge for Rolland-Jones and allows him to get to the quarterback for the strip-sack.
This clip shows his relentlessness. Here he once again used the club move, this time to defeat the block of a running back, then he defeats the block of a second back on the way to the quarterback. The quarterback tries to escape, but Rolland-Jones drags him down with one hand before he can get out of the pocket.
Ja’Von Rolland Jones is not your run-of-the-mill rookie free agent. A team can never have enough good pass rushers and he has proven that he can be just that. His physical traits and skill set could make him the best undrafted rookie the Bengals’ defense has seen since Vontaze Burfict.