2018 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Ja’Von Rolland-Jones
School: Arkansas State
Weight: 244 pounds
Projected: 4-6th Round
It is fitting Ja’Von Rolland-Jones is a sports management major at Arkansas State, because he undoubtedly managed opposing quarterbacks for the Red Wolves. The redshirt senior was a sack artists few could match during his tenure as he racked up 43.5 career sacks, just half a sack short of the FBS record 44 owned by Terrell Suggs (Arizona State).
This past season, Rolland-Jones dropped quarterbacks 13 times and in 2013, he tallied 13.5 takedowns. During his freshman and sophomore campaigns, he racked up eight and nine, respectively.
Rolland-Jones did what was necessary: He dominated the competition in the Sun Belt Conference (earned player of the year nods) and improved as a pass rusher in the four years he was a Red Wolf. Yet he was forgettable in the East-West Shrine Game despite drawing serious attention as a must-watch and notable player heading into this past weekend’s tilt.
Perhaps practicing at outside linebacker — he was primarily a hands-in-the-dirt defensive end at Arkansas State — had something to do with the less-than-glowing reviews. “I was a bit surprised, as Rolland-Jones looked lost at times,” said Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline during last Monday’s practice. “He struggled finding the ball and was often easily washed from the action by a single blocker.”
Oakland is in dire need of even more pass rush bite and with ample seasoning and teaching, Rolland-Jones could provide that at a relative bargain in the late rounds. The Raiders will run a four-man front. Rolland-Jones would become either an undersized rusher at end or a stand-up rusher at linebacker.
Bull rush extraordinaire who dominated smaller offensive lineman. Uses his long arms well to stab and punch. Also, shows ample bend to get around the corner and maneuver around linemen. Comfortable on both ends of the line and shown ability to feast when serving as a stand-up rusher. Flashes discipline and recognition in setting the edge in run defense.
Stop the bull rush and Rolland-Jones does not have much else in his pass rush kit. Relied too much on his physical gifts to smash lighter competition. Must develop secondary and more moves to get to the quarterback. Increased speed around the corner and overall will help tremendously. Was overpowered by bigger offensive linemen and is not as stout against the run. Appears best fit for a 3-4 defense than a 4-3.