Third-round pick Dre’Mont Jones has battled with Big Ten offensive linemen for years.
Over the last three seasons, the defensive lineman has sparred with both tackles and guards — and he won enough matchups to record 22 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks during his Ohio State career.
“The Big Ten is definitely no joke,” Jones said Saturday at his introductory press conference. “I know how it feels to be double-teamed, I know how it feels to go against those 6-7, 330-[pound] offensive tackles, and those 6-4, 330-[pound] guards and I got a feel for both. I think I can handle myself in the league.”
After all, those linemen have nothing on Jones’ father, Sanderline Williams, who had an 11-year career as a professional middleweight boxer.
Williams, who fought top boxers that included James Toney and Iran Barkley, saw boxing potential in his son Dre’Mont.
“He was born with naturally fast hands and great footwork,” Williams said. “… His hands are just as fast as mine, [but] he’s a heavyweight. His footwork is magnificent, so I think he could have [had a professional career]. I look at him sometimes and shake my head and ask myself, ‘Why didn’t I encourage him to be a boxer?’ Because he’s got the skill set to be a boxer.”
Jones, though, learned as an 11-year-old that he preferred football to his father’s sport of choice.
“I was sparring with my dad — of course, he was taking it easy on me — but I was sparring with him and he hit me with something crazy,” Jones said. “And at that moment, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is not for me.’ But I did learn how to use my hands well.
“… It was embarrassing. My dad knocked me out. I thought I could get him.”
Jones’ brief boxing training and his fast hands did prepare him well for his eventual Big Ten competition.
“Pass rushing and fitting the run is basically like boxing,” Jones said. “You’re punching, you’re striking, you’re being physical with your hands all the time. That definitely translated over for being a D-lineman.”
And while Williams thinks his son could’ve found a career in professional boxing, he said he knows his son has ended up in a better situation than he could’ve imagined.
“It’s like a dream come true, because I think as a former athlete, I thought I was pretty good,” Williams said. “I could’ve taken it to the next level, but things got in my way. But to see him do it and take it even further than I did, it’s something I can’t explain.”