David Jones Los Angeles Rams & San Diego Chargers & Washington Redskins

"I’m the best defensive end around. I’d hate to have to play against me!”

Deacon Jones, who had had an obscure college career preceding his 14th-round selection by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1961 draft, quickly blossomed into a superb defensive end. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. Yet had it not been for the chance observation of two Rams scouts viewing films of an opponent, he might never have had a chance to play pro football. When the scouts noted that the 6-4, 272-pound tackle was outrunning the backs they were scouting, they recommended Jones as a sleeper pick.

His college background consisted of a year at South Carolina State in 1958 followed by a year of inactivity in 1959 and a final season at Mississippi Vocational in 1960. Originally, the Rams weren't certain which platoon would be best for Jones but the Deacon quickly earned his niche as a defensive end and, for most of a decade, he teamed with tackle Merlin Olsen to give Los Angeles a perennial All-Pro left side of the defensive line.

Jones won unanimous all-league honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970. He also played in seven straight Pro Bowls, 1965-1971, and was selected to an eighth in 1973. In both 1967 and 1968, he was chosen the top defensive player in the NFL by one major news service.

In 1972, Jones was included in a multi-player trade with the San Diego Chargers. He was an instant success with his new team, leading all Chargers' defensive linemen in tackles and winning a berth on the AFC Pro Bowl squad. He also was named San Diego's defensive captain. He concluded his career with the Washington Redskins in 1974. The extremely durable and dedicated Jones missed just five games of a possible 196 regular-season encounters in 14 NFL campaigns.