PFF disrespects DJ Jones in their interior defender rankings

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Jeff Bottari/GettyImages

It's clear that DJ Jones is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, but PFF's iDL rankings are completely void of his name for some reason. I was shocked when I viewed their rankings and didn't see DJ Jones' name anywhere on the list.

They ranked the top-32 interior defensive linemen in football, and Broncos' new signee Zach Allen did come in at #32, which I guess is fine. Both Allen and departed Dre'Mont Jones were taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, and both excel in different ways. Zach Allen is the better pass rusher, but Jones might be the better run defender.

Anyway, DJ Jones is one of the best interior linemen in the entire NFL, and it's baffling that he didn't make the list. According to ESPN, in the 2022 season, DJ Jones was fourth among defensive tackles in run-stop win rate.

In 2021, DJ Jones ranked first in the category, ahead of many of the players that are currently on PFF's list. So, in the last two years, DJ Jones has ranked first and fourth in stopping the run among interior defensive linemen.

Isn't that one of their most important duties as a DT? Why then, is Jones not in the top 32 in PFF's rankings?

And while he obviously isn't known for his pass-rushing prowess, Jones still managed 2.0 sacks, three tackles for loss, and four QB hits in 2022. Sure, they're not great numbers, but Jones is also providing a tiny bit of pass rush.

Watching him in 2022 was quite something. He constantly pushed the pocket back and likely helped his EDGE rushing mates and defensive ends get to the QB and make plays in the run game. While I think Denver still does need to add to their DL, DJ Jones is a great centerpiece.

I think some are still overly hooked on the "sacks" category as a marker of success for players along the defensive front, which isn't accurate at all. Sacks are nice, but how do the players get them? Are they clean-up sacks? Are they legitimate sacks where the player gets to the QB themselves?

Well, however you feel about sacks, there is more to defensive front play than sacking the QB, and that's where DJ Jones comes into play. He's an elite run defender and hopefully can continue that play in 2023.

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