Robert Saleh on D.J. Jones: ‘He’s showing that the game’s not too big for him’

Aug 2, 2017 at 1:27 PM--

Al Sacco and Zain Naqvi of the 49ers Webzone "No Huddle" podcast have described rookie defensive lineman D.J. Jones as a steal of the draft. The duo was so impressed with Jones that they believe the sixth-round pick could end up starting along the defensive line at some point this season.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice, which was the fifth of training camp. He briefly discussed Jones' progress within his defense.

"He's been doing very well," Saleh said. "He's showing a lot of the stuff that he showed in college. He's showing that the game's not too big for him. He needs to continue to work on his fundamentals and the things that we're asking him to do but from a strength standpoint, the effort, the strength, he's got all those tools. Now it's just a matter of understanding how offensive lineman play in the league and the little tricks that they have. That way, he can do his job better."

Saleh went on to say that he hopes a number of defensive linemen get snaps during the season because the 49ers hope to come at the offense in waves using a rotation that will keep their players fresh.

"We're in the mindset that we want fresh bodies rotating at all times throughout the game," Saleh said.

In 2015, Jones played in every game for Mississippi, starting three and making 40 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and four sacks. He started all 12 games during his senior year in 2016. Over the past two years, Jones accumulated 70 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and six sacks in 25 games.

What can fans expect to see from Jones with the 49ers?

"I do believe I'm one of the faster nose tackles," Jones told 49ers Webzone in May. "My feet – I think I use them more than my power – my finesse, and my lower center of gravity. I like to get up on the pads and drive an offensive lineman back. And my hands, my hand speed. Just my instincts to get to the quarterback. That's what I enjoy."

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