2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: North Carolina DE Nazair Jones

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#90 – Nazair Jones/DE North Carolina – 6’5” 295 lbs.

The Good:

– Outstanding strength and power with a big trunk
– Forces double teams
– Huge reach with his big wingspan
– Gets arms and body up to swat down passes
– Natural anchoring five tech, who can play three tech when needed
– Good initial first step
– Above average tackle production for an interior lineman of his size

The Bad:

– Slow to read where the football is
– Doesn’t have developed pass rush moves other than smash and grab
– Limited track record getting to quarterback in college
– Awkward bending and changing directions
– Gets off balance too often



– Started his own non-profit foundation MADE Men Mentoring to that pairs college athletes with underprivileged young men in North Carolina
– Finished with 72 career solo tackles, 74 assists, 22 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 10 pass deflections, and 2 interception returns for 20 yards
– Listens to stand-up comedy and watches 2000s urban music videos to get ready on game day
– Wears #90 because Julius Peppers wore it first
– Wants to play for his “local” team, the Carolina Panthers
– In high school, suffered from a complex regional pain syndrome that caused him to lose his ability to walk and also lose 50 pounds in a month

Tape Breakdown:

“Naz” fires out low, but comes up out of his stance too quickly. By standing up, he loses all leverage and power. This causes the defender to get knocked back and bounced around like a pinball. RB Dalvin Cook squirts right by him for a nice gain.

Jones gets great initial penetration. Creates separation between himself and the blockers with his extended arms, spins away from the offensive tackle, dips his head and brings down QB Nathan Peterman to prevent a first down.

The defender explodes past the line of scrimmage, fully extends his arms, dips underneath the blocker while working down the line of scrimmage; then bear hugs RB Nick Chubb for the tackle.

“Zaz” has a good first step off the snap, uses his arms well to keep both the guard and tackle off his body. The defender rolls outside matching a bootlegging Brad Kaaya and gives the QB a shot as he releases the pigskin.

Jones is a big, powerful defender who fights through double teams with extended arms not allowing blockers into his body, anchors well, and seems attract ball carriers to him. He usually gets a quick first step, but has times where the defender cannot find the pigskin. The former Tar Heel is not much of a sack player, instead he relies on knocking down passes with his long arms. “Naz” could be a solid backup defensive end giving Tuitt and Heyward more breathers without losing much on the front line for a reasonable cost, especially with the extra third round pick.

Projection: Fourth or fifth rounder

Games Watched: vs. Georgia, vs. Pittsburgh, at Miami, at Florida State

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh Reynolds

  • Steelers12


  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Love the name, but I’m feeling him.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I’d rather get that kid from Villanova whose name I’m not going to try to spell.

  • Chad H

    I would keep that private!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    He actually looks like he is big and strong and has potential to improve as his speed when he gets going looks pretty good.. Even as a backup it might be worth it to have a guy like this around. The problem is other needs for the Steelers. I would take him in round 5 or later for sure. I get the feeling someone will take him much earlier.

    Thanks for the writeup on him.

  • AndyR34

    Does anyone think that at this point he is better than LT Walton?

  • SoCal Steeler

    I do see us drafting a 5 tech. We’re not very deep there. Just don’t think it will be early, so maybe if he’s there in the 5th Zaz is our man. Might have to draft him in the 4th though and I’d rather get Alex’s guy, Josh Reynolds there.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    My bad! I’m not feeling him! Stupid smartphone!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    At this point no. But you have to remember that LT has been under pro coaching for 2-3 years. There’s material here for the team to work with and there’s not a lot of guys with those measurements walking around.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If we are not sold on Walton then I could see us getting a DE in the first 4 rounds for a good quality back up. Jones would be on the bottom portion of that.

  • newguy68

    I would think a “truer” NG would be a better option. Move McCullers out to a 5 technique and possibly give him more motivation to “move it” in what could be in his contract year.

  • SnoopDogg123

    Reminds Me of Jihad Ward from last year’s draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s drafted in 2nd or 3rd round.

  • Applebite

    Kpassagnon would be awesome in the ‘Burgh.