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Who Are the Greatest Cardinals Linebackers of All Time?
Though the Cardinals are one of just two franchises still in operation since the league’s foundation in 1920, they have yet to produce a Hall of Famer at linebacker. Still, the position has seen its fair share of stars over the years.

Selection Criteria
Legacy Honors (Hall of Fame, Ring of Honor, retired number, etc.)
Single-Season Honors (MVP, All-Pro, Pro Bowl, league leader, etc.)
On-Field Success (winning percentage, winning seasons, playoff appearances, etc.)
Longevity (years with the Cardinals, percentage of career with the Cardinals, etc.)
Only games played with the Cardinals are factored into this list, so while Terrell Suggs is a prime candidate for a list about the Ravens, his 13 games in Arizona won’t make the cut here. Following the top 10, you’ll also find a handful of honorable mentions as well as some Cardinals linebacker trivia.

10. Ronald McKinnon
Years With the Cardinals: 1996–2004
Playoff Appearance: 1998
When the Cardinals signed Cheap Ronald McKinnon Jersey as an undrafted free agent in 1996, they probably didn’t expect to get someone who would regularly contribute for most of the next decade. Though he went undrafted, McKinnon was the Harlon Hill Trophy winner and picked up three championships at North Alabama. He then proved his worth as a rookie over 16 games, and he earned a starting role one season later. He missed just three games before leaving the Cardinals after the 2004 season. With Arizona, McKinnon racked up 933 tackles, 12 sacks and 10 interceptions.

9. Bill Koman
Years With the Cardinals: 1959–67
Pro Bowls: 1962, ‘64
If an opponent lost a fumble in Cheap Bill Koman Jersey vicinity, Koman was likely to scoop it up. Second all-time in Cardinals history with 16 fumble recoveries, Koman had at least one in every season of his nine-year tenure with the franchise. He missed just one game for the team and added six interceptions.

8. Mark Arneson
Years With the Cardinals: 1972–80
Playoff Appearances: 1974–75
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After an illustrious career at the University of Arizona, Cheap Mark Arneson Jersey joined the Cardinals as a second-round draft pick in 1972 and spent the next nine seasons as a key member of their defensive unit. He helped the franchise make a pair of playoff appearances in the mid-1970s, and he intercepted a pass during the 1974 postseason. He missed just five games with St. Louis and closed his career with 18 fumble recoveries and five interceptions.

7. E.J. Junior
Years With the Cardinals: 1981–88
Playoff Appearance: 1982
All-Pro: 1984
Pro Bowls: 1984–85
The Cardinals used their first-round draft pick on E.J. Junior in 1981 and then reaped the benefits over the next eight seasons. Junior started 13 games as a rookie and remained in the starting lineup for the majority of his tenure with the Cardinals. His best seasons came between 1983 and ’85 when he earned two Pro Bowl selections, picked up his only All-Pro honor and had 19 sacks and nine interceptions in 44 games. In 111 total games with the Cardinals, he had 24.5 sacks and all 12 of his career interceptions.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is tackled by Cardinals linebacker Cheap Chandler Jones Jersey (55) during the second half of a 2019 game at MetLife Stadium.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is tackled by Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) during the second half of a 2019 game at MetLife Stadium.

© Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

6. Chandler Jones
Years With the Cardinals: 2016–Present
All-Pro: 2017, ‘19
Pro Bowls: 2017, ‘19
Legacy Honors: NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
Chandler Jones built a solid foundation during his first four seasons with the Patriots, but he blossomed once he came to the Cardinals in 2016. In three of his four seasons in Arizona he played at linebacker, and his 47 sacks in those seasons are second in franchise history at the position (Ken Harvey has 47.5). With a career-high 19 sacks in 2019, he became the first Cardinals player ever to record four seasons with at least 10 sacks. In 64 games with Arizona, he has 60 sacks and 17 forced fumbles.

5. Eric Hill
Years With the Cardinals: 1989–97
Awards: NFL All-Rookie (1989)
The Cardinals selected Eric Hill in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft, and in return, the team received a long-term starter at linebacker. Hill started 128 games over nine seasons with the team and only missed 11 total games during that period. He averaged 103.5 tackles per season, and his only career touchdown came when he returned a fumble for 85 yards in 1991—which is the fifth-longest fumble return in franchise history. Hill was never named a first-team All-Pro or selected for the Pro Bowl, but his reliability made him a memorable player in Arizona.

4. Ken Harvey
Years With the Cardinals: 1988–93
Ken Harvey is known more for his time with the Washington Football Team, but he built the foundation of his success there with six seasons as a high-powered pass rusher for the Cardinals. Harvey became the first draft pick taken by the Cardinals after they relocated to Phoenix, and there he developed into a star on defense. He closed his Cardinals career with 47.5 sacks, which narrowly leads Chandler Jones (47) for the most in team history among linebackers (Jones has 60 total sacks but played as a defensive end in 2018). Harvey made four straight Pro Bowls after leaving the franchise and added another 41.5 sacks to his ledger in five seasons.

3. Dale Meinert
Years With the Cardinals: 1958–67
Pro Bowls: 1963, ‘65, ‘67
Dale Meinert didn’t take the conventional route to the NFL, but once he got there he settled in to become a steady contributor for the Cardinals. Meinert was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the 1955 NFL Draft, but he opted to spend the next three seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. In Canada, he won championships in 1955 and ‘56, and he brought that experience to the Cardinals in 1958. From there, he became a three-time Pro Bowler and was the regular middle linebacker from 1960 to ’67. In his career, he recovered 13 fumbles and had nine interceptions, including one in 1964 that he returned for a touchdown.

2. Larry Stallings
Years With the Cardinals: 1963–76
Playoff Appearances: 1974–75
Pro Bowl: 1970
Larry Stallings spent 14 seasons with the Cardinals, leaving him tied with Hall of Fame cornerback Cheap Roger Wehrli Jersey for the most service time by a defensive player in franchise history. Stallings did not produce Hall of Fame statistics, but he was still one of the most dependable linebackers ever to play for the Cardinals. In the final 11 seasons of his career, he missed just two games, and he helped St. Louis to three straight seasons with at least 10 wins from 1974 to ’76. In 181 total games, he recovered 13 fumbles and intercepted nine passes—which is far more production than the Cardinals likely imagined they would get after selecting him with the 241st pick in the 1963 NFL Draft.

Cardinals linebacker Cheap Karlos Dansby Jersey (56) tackles Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls (34) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium, Nov. 9, 2017.
Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby (56) tackles Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls (34) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium, Nov. 9, 2017.

© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

1. Karlos Dansby
Years With the Cardinals: 2004–09, ‘13, ‘17
Playoff Appearances: 2008–09
Awards: NFL All-Rookie (2004)
Karlos Dansby played for Arizona three different times, and his success with the franchise places him at the top of my list of the greatest linebackers in Cardinals history. Between his three stints, he missed only six games, and he also anchored the defense when the franchise made their only Super Bowl appearance.

Dansby was selected in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft, and he showcased his talents as both a pass rusher and a defender in coverage during the years that followed. Over the first six seasons of his career, he had 25.5 sacks and 10 interceptions—leaving him as one of four defenders in team history to record double-digit sacks and interceptions (sacks weren’t an official statistic prior to 1982).

Despite his star status, Dansby never played in a Pro Bowl. He did however earn a second-team All-Pro selection in 2013—the second season in which he returned two interceptions for touchdowns. During the 2008 season, he recorded more than 100 tackles for the first time in his career, and he played well throughout the postseason, posting 23 tackles in three playoff games to help the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl. He then snared an interception and added another eight tackles in the Super Bowl, but the Steelers came away with a 27–23 win. A year later, Dansby recovered a fumble for the game-winning touchdown in a first-round playoff game against the Packers, a 51–45 victory that is the highest-scoring postseason game in history.

Honorable Mentions
While the above players comprise the best of the best in Cardinals history, there are several other players who have made significant contributions to the franchise but fell just outside of the top 10.

Cheap Freddie Joe Nunn Jersey
Nunn did not exclusively play as a linebacker for the Cardinals, but when he did, he was feared by opposing players. Nunn suited up at linebacker during four seasons, spending the rest of his time as a defensive end. As a linebacker, he amassed 21 sacks and recovered six fumbles.

Jamir Miller
Miller spent the first five seasons of his career with the Cardinals, and during the final three of those five seasons he didn’t miss a single game. He excelled in 1998, reaching 100 tackles for the first time and recording a pair of sacks in a playoff victory over the Cowboys. He was a first-round draft choice of the Cardinals in 1994, and he closed his tenure in Arizona with 13.5 sacks and five fumble recoveries.

Cheap Daryl Washington Jersey
Washington was drafted in the second round in 2010, and by 2012 he was a second-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler with 134 tackles and nine sacks. He was seemingly on his way to becoming one of the NFL’s top linebackers before his career abruptly ended due to a suspension for repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy. In each of his four seasons in Arizona he intercepted at least one pass, and he closed his career with 18 sacks.

Special Mention
One linebacker never got a chance to showcase all of his skills with the Cardinals.

Cheap Stan Mauldin Jersey
Mauldin’s career was cut short after he died of a heart attack following a 1948 game against the Eagles. In three seasons, Mauldin started 17 of 19 games for the Cardinals, intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles. He also played on the offensive line, helping the Cardinals win the 1947 NFL championship. His jersey number (77) was retired by the franchise.

Cardinals linebacker Cheap Isaiah Simmons Jersey during training camp at State Farm Stadium, Aug. 19, 2020.

© Rob Schumacher/The Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Cardinals Linebacker FAQs and Trivia
How many linebackers have the Cardinals drafted in the first round?

The franchise has picked up eight linebackers with first-round draft selections.

2020: Isaiah Simmons (No. 8)
2017: Harrison Reddick (No. 13)
1994: Jamir Miller (No. 10)
1989: Cheap Eric Hill Jersey(No. 10)
1988:Cheap Ken Harvey Jersey (No. 12)
1986: Anthony Bell (No. 5)
1981: Cheap E.J. Junior Jersey(No. 5)
1957: Jerry Tubbs (No. 10)
How many Cardinals linebackers have appeared in the Pro Bowl?

The team has been represented by eight different linebackers in the Pro Bowl, combining for 13 total appearances.

2019: Chandler Jones
2017: Chandler Jones
2013: John Abraham
2012: Daryl Washington
1994: Seth Joyner
1985: E.J. Junior
1984: E.J. Junior
1970: Cheap Larry Stallings Jersey
1967: Dale Meinert
1965: Dale Meinert
1963: Dale Meinert
1957: Cheap Leo Sanford Jersey
1956: Leo Sanford

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Following the Cardinals season-ending disappointment, many fans, including myself, are feeling disillusioned and skeptical about the direction of their football team under the current GM, head coach and coaching staff.

While it’s often cathartic and therapeutic for fans to express their frustration and dismay, if there’s one thing we long-beleaguered Cardinals know a little something about, it’s how to think our way through the maze like a mouse following the scent of peanut butter.

Yesterday, Jim Shapiro, courtesy of BetOnLIne, offered Cardinals fans this reality check with regard to their odds of winning the NFC West in 2021:

NFC WEST

Los Angeles Rams 8/5

San Francisco 49ers 11/5

Seattle Seahawks 11/4

Arizona Cardinals 7/1

To extend the metaphor, there is a freshly made peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the end of this NFC West labyrinth and as of today, the Cardinals are the last of four mice to be dropped into the maze.

After considerable thought and having listened closely to my fellow Cardinals fans, here are 7 adjustments/suggestios that the Cardinals might want to consider, if they aren’t doing so already:

Re-define and re-prioritize the team’s practice habits.
When a team leads the NFL in penalties and when, during the second half of the year, it becomes apparent that the Cardinals coaches and players were not preparing themselves properly in their weekly game plans, especially in catering the plans to how to attack the opponents where they are weakest, what all of these shortcomings speak to are questionable practice habits,

Improvement areas:

advance scouting for games, especially for NFC West opponents before the season and then during the season. Coordinators should be watching tapes and developing game plans now, which they can modify when necessary.
more specific game-planning for the opponents and stronger updating game plans for the rematches with their NFC West opponents —- updated game plans like Pete Carroll, Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay devised while sweeping the Cardinals in the second contests.
stronger attention to situational strategies, down and distance calls, the two-minute drill, the two-minute defense, red zone offense, red zone defense, special teams in every aspect of special teams play including having punt and kickoff returners who are eager and aggressive, rather than timid and shy, including pooch kickoffs and on-side kicks.
eliminating double standards for player participation in practice. Every player should be expected to participate in every practice. Why? Because it is their job and they owe it to the coaches, the team and the fans. In the event of injuries, the injured players should still be on the practice field engaged in the week’s prep and supporting their teammates.They can do their rehabs before or after practice.
getting DeAndre Hopkin (and every other veteran) to go all-in on practice by encouraging him to emerge as a team leader. Double standards set teams backward in preparation and team morale.
do not sign veteran players who expect days off from practice.
sign a baller like J.J. Watt who preaches the importance of practice.
the team’s pace on the whole is too slow —- make pace a focal point of all the practices.
2. Improve the team’s strength and conditioning program.

This past season was an anomaly because of the pandemic. In watching the drills during training camp, it looked very clear that some of the players came to camp under-prepared and out of shape. Football is a game of feet, leverage and wind. Those three areas need to be emphasized more regularly and efficiently.

3. Shuffle the deck with the regard to the focus of the front office by playing to the strengths of the GM, the director of player personnel and the director of pro scouting.

Improvement areas:

Have Steve Keim (GM) handle trades and waiver wire acquisitions which are his forte.
Have Quentin Harris (director of player personnel) handle the draft in coordination with the coaches and the team scouts. A fresh approach to this year’s draft is of paramount importance. A few years back the Cardinals had an excellent talent evaluator on their executive team in Jason Licht. There is nothing wrong with having the GM put his trust in his DOPP or anyone in the front office who is a highly talented talent evaluator.
For one thing, the Cardinals could do a better job of drafting from the Power Five college programs. Comparison of Power 5 Draft Picks of Steve Keim’s and Jason Licht’s: with regard to the current 56 man rosters:
Keim:

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Licht:

Tristan Wirfs, Antoine Winfield Jr. Jordan Whitehead, Devin White, Vita Bea, Anthony Nelson, Ronald Jones, Tyler Johnson, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Mike Edwards, Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Kendall Beckwith, O.J. Howard, Jack Cichy. Khalil Davis (18 players, 12 starters in 2020).

* Notice in particular how Jason Licht built the Bucs’ offensive skill positions (WR, RB, TE) and his entire secondary (CBs and Ss) through the draft. Impressive, isn’t it?

Have Adrian Wilson (director of pro personnel) handle the free agent acquisitions in coordination with the coaches As a former All Pro, Cheap Adrian Wilson Jersey has a keen sense for knowing what kind of players bring an edge, work ethic, leadership and competitive fire to the roster. Again, let’s compare Keim’s UFA acquisitions to Licht’s:
Keim:

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Licht:

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Now, to be fair to Steve Keim, his trades have been superb: OLB Cheap Chandler Jones Jersey, RB Cheap Kenyan Drake Jersey, WR DeAndre Hopkin and Cheap Markus Golden Jersey.

Jason Licht has hit on a couple of very good trades as well: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, TE Rob Gronkowski.

Plus, where Steve Keim has shined is in his waiver wire pickups: Cheap Dan Arnold Jersey, Cheap Angelo Blackson Jersey, Pharaoh Cooper, Cheap Justin Murray Jersey, Cheap Charles Washington Jersey.

Steve Keim is a team guy, thus for him to take a more diversified approach to this off-season by delegating and giving more responsibility to Quentin Harris and Adrian Wilson. the gesture could go a long way in galvanizing the leadership of the team from the top —- and thereby, potentially help Steve Keim’s longevity as GM.

4. In terms of player personnel this off-season make it a priority to add strength up front and speed at the skills positions on both sides of the ball.

By NFL standards the Cardinals need to become more physical and play faster.

Improvement areas:

Pare the current roster of its under-performing veterans.
Avoid signing veteran free agents who have injury/PED/violation histories or those who are past their primes or who have been declining in recent years. Adding a few veterans to fill holes during training camp when they can be added at the veteran minimum is the best route to take.
Make good, strong commitments to the team’ emerging young talents like Cheap Haason Reddick Jersey, Cheap Dennis Gardeck Jersey, Dan Arnold, Ezekiel Turner, Cheap Tanner Vallejo Jersey, Charles Washington and Cheap Chase Edmonds Jersey.
Create a buzz by adding two or three impressive free agents and by making a splash at the 2021 NFL Draft.
If a player is standing out in practice, play him in the games.
If a younger player is playing better than the veteran starter, play the younger player.
Play the top rookies and stop treating them with kid gloves.
5. Trust in the young talent and leadership on the team.

The Cardinals have a number of young players who aspire to practice hard and make the sacrifices it takes to win ballgames. The more that these young players assume the ownership of the team, the better the Cardinals chances are for winning, short-term and long-term. Build this team around them. Give those players a voice.

6. Project a more confident, poised, sportsmanlike and passionate image to the league and to the NFL officials.

This starts with being a much, much more disciplined football team. Kliff Kingsbury, like many young head coaches finding their way, needs to develop a stronger rapport with the officials, particularly because his rival coaches in the NFC West already have such a strong rapport with the officials. There are times when the Cardinals’ players act like privileged cry babies. This has to stop. The Cardinals lost their cool in two key NFC West rival games that the team lost in Seattle and Los Angeles. Again, this has to stop.

It’s time for Kingsbury to take a big step forward as a leader, by holding the players more accountable, working them into tip-top shape and by providing the energy on the sidelines that has been inconsistent.

7. Provide the team and the fans with the fresh, exciting look of new, upgraded uniforms.

Please, under no circumstances, Michael Bidwill, should you change the Cardinals’ helmets. The milk white helmets with the red, black and yellow Cardinals’ logo is the common link from those of us who have followed the Cardinals for generations and through the St. Louis years.

However, it would be great to see the Cardinals sport a new, shiny 21st century look in their red home and white away uniforms.

The Cardinals should do away with the black alternative uniforms. You don’t see the Rams, Chiefs, Patriots or Seahawks going black, do you? Because they stay true to who they are. We are Cardinals. We are not crows or vultures. Heck, if the new red and white uniforms do Cardinals justice, then the team shouldn’t need an alternative uniform. If anything. the Cardinals can just go retro for a game, back to these old fan favorites:

The days of Cheap Larry Wilson Jersey were days when Cardinals were not afraid to be cardinals. They wore the red and white with a special pride and purpose.

Man, if the Cardinals organization ever took on the persona and grit of Larry Wilson —- watch out NFL!

You know, with all of the mistakes the Cardinals made last season, particularly with leading the league in penalties and not getting strong enough performances from many of their key veterans, if they learn from these mistakes and correct them, imagine how good they could be this season and beyond.

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On the eve of the NFL New Year, the Arizona Cardinals have made one thing perfectly clear: they are absolutely bullish on keeping OLB/DE Chandler Jones.

The question is whether the Cardinals will play out the final year of Jones’ contract, which would mean paying him his $15.5M non-guaranteed base salary (prior to Week 1), or whether they will work out a contract extension in order to secure Jones’ services for anther year or two while being able to add valuable cap space in free agency.

On the other side of the ball, 2020 3rd round pick, Cheap Josh Jones Jersey is primed and ready to be the team’s starter at right tackle, while 2020 starting RT Cheap Kelvin Beachum Jersey hits free agency after his commendable year with the Cardinals.

The Cheap Chandler Jones Jersey vs Josh Jones matchup in practice should be fun to watch.

Thus, if the Cardinals intend to “keep up with the Joneses” in the high-powered NFC West, then why not take some patterned steps, quite literally, to build on their collection of Joneses?

When Cardinals’ scouts, coaches and fans scrutinize the list of the 2021 available UFAs, the uncanny reality is, there is an intriguing Jones for just about every one of their personnel needs.

Cases in Point:

RB Aaron Jones (GB) —- the premier RB on the UFA market has a tie to the Cardinals because his college head coach at UTEP was Sean Kugler. Coming off back-to-back 1,00 yard rushing seasons and 30 combined TDs (rushing and receiving), Jones, by virtue of his attacking style and versatility as a receiver out of the backfield, is made to order for the Cardinals offense, which now has promoted Sean Kugler to running game coordinator.

WR Marvin Jones (DET) —- in many ways Marvin Jones could be a very effective and nifty WR2 compliment to Cheap DeAndre Hopkins Jersey. Jones has the physical ability to attain strong leverage on opposing CBs while having the quickness to gain separation. He has sticky hands and a nose for the end zone (9 TDs in 3 of his last 4 seasons and a career high 76 catches for 978 yards in 2020).

DT DaQuan Jones (TEN) —- at 6-4, 317 DaQuan Jones is one of the more imposing defensive tackles in the NFL. He can play nose or slide out to 34 DE. Adding this stalwart run stuffer (as highlighted by Dave McGinnis in the video below) to the DI mix would be a boon. And if the Cards can’t sign DeQuan, then they could makes a play for Abry Jones (6-4, 318, 29, JAC) who posted a solid 65.9 PFF grade in 2020 —- or go younger with D.J. Jones (6-0, 321, 26, SF) who posted a 61.3 grade in 2020 following his 67.8 2019 PFF grade.

CB Sidney Jones (JAC) —- coming off his best season, albeit with a couple injury setbacks, Sidney Jones appears to be entering his prime and should be an instant fit in the Cardinals’ “Husky Heavy” secondary along side former Washington-U teammates Cheap Budda Baker Jersey, Cheap Byron Murphy Jersey and Cheap Zeke Turner Jersey. His 68.3 PFF grade was higher than any of the Cardinals CB grades in 2020. See the nice pick he made on Aaron Rodgers in the video.

C Brett Jones (MIN) —- he thought he was going to start at C with the Vikings when he signed as a free agent in 2019, but when Garrett Bradbury was on the board at pick #19 in the 2019 draft, the Vikings couldn’t resist taking him. When given the chance to play late in the 2020 season, Brett Jones graded an impressive 77.6 His connection to the Cardinals is that in 2017 he had his best and most productive year as the Giants’ starting center (70.2, 82.1 pass blocking) playing along side of former teammate Cheap Justin Pugh Jersey. Brett Jones is the kind of potential hidden gem signing the Cardinals could hit a home run with. Jones has experience playing RG as well. Over the 900 snaps of his career, Jones has only given up 3 sacks and 17 pressures, while incurring only 3 penalties.

WR Zay Jones (OAK) —- here is another potential hidden gem UFA. At 6-2, 200 Zay Jones has impressive size and 4.45 speed, plus a 36.5” vertical. He was a 2nd round pick for the Bills in 2017 and was traded two years ago to the Raiders for a 5th round pick. In 59 games, Jones has 1,338 yards and 10 TDs, serving as a WR3 moist of that time. Having played his high school ball in Austin at Stephen F. Austin High School, it would be reasonable to assume that Kliff Kingsbury understands Jones’ background and his talent. Jones, turns 26 in March and his best playing days could very well be ahead of him. He was a 1st Team All-American in 216 at East Carolina.

LB Joe Jones (DEN) —- again, here is another young, talented player who could be a hidden gem. The 27 year old 6-0, 236 Northwestern grad is a gifted athlete. At his 2017 pro day he ran a 4.49 40 and 6.83 3 cone while posting a 35” vertical and 10’3” broad jump. With the Broncos he was a core special teamer this past season posting an above average 67.0 ST grade. On the couple of occasions where he got snaps at LB his grades were good: 83.2 in 2018 on 26 snaps and 67.8 in 2020 on 6 snaps. Jones could be the right athlete, at the right place and right time —- who knows? Because, as today’s NFL fans know, speedy LBers who can cover RBs and TEs stride for stride are in vogue.