DL Naquan Jones Making a Name for Himself With the Titans


NASHVILLE – Naquan Jones arrived in Nashville a year ago known for his somewhat familiar name.

The defensive lineman smiled when first reminded of DaQuan Jones, who was a big part of the team's d-line in the years prior to his arrival.

But as Naquan Jones found his way as a rookie last season, he began to make a name for himself in Tennessee.

Now in Year 2, he's looking to do even more.

"Last year when I came in, I was a little overwhelmed, just like any rookie coming in here, transitioning," Jones said. "I was overthinking (last year) and not playing as fast as I could because of that. But the more reps you get and the more you step on the field, you get more comfortable.

"This year I feel more comfortable, with a year under my belt, and I'm not the youngest guy in the room any more. I came in with the mindset of every day I want to get better."

Jones, signed by the team as an undrafted free agent after the 2021 NFL Draft out of Michigan State, went through training camp and preseason with the team a year before starting the season on the team's practice squad.

But just a few weeks into the season the Titans promoted Jones to the active roster, and he ended up playing in 13 games, with five starts.

The 6-foot-3, 313-pound Jones finished the year with 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks, along with four quarterback pressures and four tackles for a loss.

This offseason, Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen praised Jones for his improvement.

"I think he has done a great job," Bowen said of Jones. "He took a lot of great strides last season. He got thrown into the fire there a little bit, but I thought he showed tremendous growth throughout the season last year and he is becoming more of a pro. He is maturing, and he is kind of figuring out what it takes to be a pro.

"There's a little more seriousness to him right now. So I am excited about the direction he is on right now."

A four-year letterman with the Spartans who was credited with 78 tackles, including 12.5 for losses (44 yards) and 3.0 sacks (20 yards) in 46 career games in college, Jones knows he has more upside.

"Just technique, you can improve on something every day," Jones said. "Coach (Mike) Vrabel tells us that, (d-line coach) Terrell (Williams) tells us that. Just the mindset to get better every day is key.

"I always play with high effort, and I'm always going to play hard, especially playing next to Jeff (Simmons), next to (Teair) Tart. But one thing I feel like I need to improve on the most are things like fundamentals and technique. I feel like I can always get better."

Williams, who is overseeing a talented group of young players, said Jones has been a good for the team.

"We look for guys that fit our system," Williams said, "and (Naquan) fits perfectly."

Jones said he wants to do more in 2022.

"I want to develop more of a role with the team, to help out and do anything I can," Jones said. "If they need me on field goal, field goal block, or to contribute in any way, I'll do it. I just want to keep solidifying a role on this team."

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