Every day here at Your Best 11, we are counting down to the start of the regular season with our Top 150 players for the 2012 season.
No. 102: Christian Jones, No. 7, Florida State, Linebacker
Jones is a physical specimen at 6'4" and 240 pounds with serious wheels at the linebacker spot. He can get out in coverage and make plays but is equally comfortable closing to the middle to swallow up plays.
The biggest asset the rising junior has is his athleticism. Watching Jones play is a treat as the big body gets moving and he goes sideline to sideline in Mark Stoops' zone-based scheme.
He can keep pace with tight ends, has the ability to defeat tight ends and fullbacks on runs at him and makes good reads when it comes to determining run or pass.
While Jones is a solid ball player, he is learning to play the weakside position and that means some mistakes.
The transition from a playside backer to a backside player is not an easy one to make. Instead of forcing the issue by coming downhill, he will be asked to scrape the backside A-gap, have patience in controlling the cutback and checking for reverse action.
Since he is going to be using his athleticism to run more plays down, that should mean more tackles. It also means less margin for error as he is in charge of the cutback and overrunning would result in the Noles being gashed as opposed to the play going by him to the next level.
Watching him transition into making these type of runfits will be something to watch.
As far as talent goes, one can make a case that Jones is the best athlete at the linebacker spot in the ACC. His task will be filling the big shoes of Nigel Bradham as the key tackler in the Seminoles' defense.
With guys like Luke Kuechly, Zach Brown and Sean Spence headed to the NFL, there is room for an improved Jones to make his presence felt upon the All-ACC team.
Look for Jones to catch on quickly as the games go live. He has the athleticism to make up for his mistakes and as the game comes to him from the opposite direction he should be a big asset for Florida State.
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