The Atlanta Falcons were able to pick up a sixth-round pick from the Houston Texans in a second-round swap before selecting LSU outside linebacker Deion Jones with the 52nd overall selection. The Falcons previously held the 50th overall selection in the second round, but were able to move back and still get the player they were targeting all along. In the process the team recouped a sixth-round pick (195th overall) from the Texans, when they had previously been without a sixth-round pick due to trading theirs to the Tennessee Titans last September in exchange for guard Andy Levitre.
Jones is known for his speed, recording a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at February’s Scouting Combine, which ranked as the fourth fastest among linebackers. He will likely be groomed to play weak-side linebacker behind veterans Sean Weatherspoon and Philip Wheeler, both of whom were signed to one-year contracts this offseason.
Despite being a New Orleans native, Jones was named for former Falcon Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders. He played primarily on special teams during his first three seasons at LSU, waiting his turn behind weak-side linebacker Kwon Alexander, currently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before finally getting his chance this past year as a senior.
Jones made the most of it, leading LSU’s defense with 100 tackles while making 11 starts at weak-side linebacker. He was named a captain and co-defensive MVP by his teammates. He also recorded 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions, three pass breakups and a forced fumble this past season. His production allowed him to be one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.
Prior to his lone season as a starter, Jones shined on special teams. He made a single start as an injury replacement for Alexander during his junior season. Over his first three years, Jones combined for 65 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and two fumble recoveries.