Lets start with a scenario. A friend comes up and starts talking about a ball-hawking safety named Sean Jones. I bet you bust out with, "Who?!?"
In case you have been shielded from the world for the past week or so, the Eagles have brought in former Cleveland Browns safety, Sean Jones, to fill the void that Brian Dawkins left when he departed after 13 memorable seasons in Midnight Green.
Now, there is no "replacing" a Brian Dawkins, but bringing in a player with the hidden talents of Sean Jones is a very positive thing. Like two players I have already profiled (O.J. Atogwe and Ron Bartell) Jones is a very good defender, stuck on a horrible defense.
Over the past three seasons, Jones ranks third in the NFL in interceptions with 14. He has some great company above him though, O.J Atogwe (16) and Ed Reed (21).
He has been known in Cleveland as a very good hitter, tenacious ball hawk, and a gambler in the secondary, exactly what defensive coordinator Jim Jonson likes in a defensive back.
This is a step in the right direction for the Eagles. They lose a player with the bevy of talents like Dawkins, but gain a solid replacement in Jones. Now, Jones is nowhere near the locker room leader and vocal presence that Dawkins was, but his talents are undeniable.
Jones is a player that would have drawn a lot of interest had he been on a better team. Thank you Cleveland for your incompetence.
Since being drafted in the second round out of Georgia in 2005, Jones has been a mainstay in the Browns' secondary. Not seeing much playing time as a rookie contributed to the reasons for his outstanding breakout season in 2006.
2006 was a season in which Jones should have been an easy Pro Bowl selection. Leading strong safeties with 111 tackles and racking up five interceptions to go along with a team high 16 pass deflections.
The 2007 season was another successful one for Jones, one that again could have ended in a Pro Bowl selection. Recording 96 total tackles to go along with five interceptions is Hawaii worthy in my book.
Then came the ever disappointing 2008 season. For Jones it was another solid season. His stats took a dip, but they didn't drop to the point where he was downright pitiful. He battled some tough injuries throughout the season and still was able to record four interceptions.
Now, why this guy had his first visit more than a week after free agency is a question unto itself. He obviously is a diamond in the rough, as cheesy as it sounds. He could be the biggest steal in free agency this season, given his upside.
But he has some big shoes to fill in those of Brian Dawkins. Dawk left a lasting memory among the fans, who knows if the fans will endear themselves the way they did Dawkins. Who knows? We Philly fans a quite the fickle bunch, he may get booed if he makes a game winning interception in overtime.
When asked about filling the void Dawk left, Jones had this to say, "I think I’m a well-rounded player, I like to come down in the box and hit you.
"At the same time, I’m a ball-hawk. I’m going to try to implement both of those parts of my game here. Along with two great cornerbacks on the corner and a young safety next to me, we’re going to try to get the ball rolling.”
And it is only fitting, that once Dawkins leaves Philly, the Eagles bring in someone who looked up to him as a youngster to fill his position, “Brian Dawkins was a great player,” Jones said. “I always looked up to him growing up. It was unfortunate for Eagles fans to miss a guy like that.”
Only time will tell if my foretelling of Jones being steal in free agenct will come true. I speak for all Eagles fans when I say, I sure hope so.