Jarvis Jones had one of the most productive college careers of any defensive prospect in the 2013 NFL draft. He got to the quarterback nearly two dozen times in his final two seasons at Georgia and seemed to be locked in as a top-10 pick just a few months ago.
Things have since changed.
Jones has spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal cord. As Kevin Seifert over at ESPN notes, it has caused some previous NFL players to retire early.
If you are going to spend a top pick on a player, you better be sure he can have a long career.
Outside of that, there are some concerns about where Jones will line up in the NFL. He will not be a 4-3 defensive end because of a lack of size and may struggle shedding blocks as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
That being said, Jones has the talent and production to be a darn good player at the next level.
Here are five things you need to know about the Georgia product.
Full Name: Jarvis Jones
Birthday: October 13, 1989
Hometown: Richland, Ga.
High School: Carver High School in Columbus, Ga.
Major: Child and family development
Jones said regarding his decision to return to Georgia for the 2012 season and bypass the draft (via Atlanta Journal-Constitution):
I’m having fun. Being here you can mess up a couple of times. There, man, it’s serious. Them people pay you to play; we get scholarships here. The NFL, if you can’t get it right they’re going to find somebody else. Not saying that I’m not ready for it; I try to prepare myself as well as I can. But it’s just a different atmosphere being here.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering that Jones majors in child and family development. He knows full well the necessity to be mature and make the right decisions when leaving college for the "real world."
Jones also plans to return to Georgia at some point in the relatively near future to get his degree. We have seen this story repeated over and over again. Young NFL players do indeed go back to school in the offseason to accomplish a goal they had set for themselves in previous years. Jones will be no different.
2009 (Freshman): Eight games, 13 tackles, five solo, 1.5 for loss
2011 (Sophomore): 14 games, 70 tackles, 39 solo, 19.5 for loss, 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and 26 quarterback hurries.
2012 (Junior): 12 games, 85 tackles, 52 solo, 24.5 for loss, 14.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and 20 quarterback hurries.
Jones led the SEC in sacks in both 2011 and 2012, completely outperforming other elite talent destined to join the NFL this season and in coming years. His production over the course of these past two seasons is really something to behold. If you go off of statistics alone, which scouts don't, Jones is the most accomplished defensive player in the entire draft.
Jones has seen many accolades thrown his way during this span. He was named Associated Press first-team All American in both 2011 and 2012. In addition, Jones earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors this past season.
All statistics provided by CFB Stats
Weight: 245 pounds
Arm Length: 33"
Hand Size: 9 1/8"
N/A (did not perform).
Pro Day Results
Broad Jump: 111.0"
40-Yard Dash: 4.92
Vertical Jump: 30"
Bench Press: 20 reps at 225
While Jarvis Jones did not perform at the combine, he was on hand for Georgia's pro day. I am assuming that he'd rather not have been. The talented pass-rusher struggled a big time.
Chip Towers over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution filed the following report immediate after Jones' pedestrian pro day performance.
The Bulldogs’ two-time All-American stumbled on his first run at the 40-yard dash and then was clocked at just 4.85 seconds on his second pass. Jones fell again during the linebackers’ pass skeleton drill and generally didn’t look fantastically athletic.
That 4.85 40-yard dash would have placed Jones second-worst among linebackers at the combine. This is not a great sign for someone that will be asked to get to the quarterback from the edge in the NFL. Again, according to CBS Sports, Jones' 40 time was 4.92. Either way, it wasn't a stellar performance.
Then again, it also makes little sense to look at generic drills when scouting a possible pass-rushing specialist and how he might translate to the NFL.
For his part, Jones doesn't seem to be too bothered by what was an average pro day performance.
At the end of the day, everybody knows what I do,” said Jones, who is expected to be the first pass rusher taken. “I’m a football player. I compete. Today, I left it on the field. It is what it is. I’ve just got to take my visits and continue to work on becoming a better football player.
I wouldn't be either. Jones is a lock to go in the first round, and no amount of struggles as they relate to generic drills will change that.
All measurements provided by NFL.com
All pro day results provided by CBS Sports
Jones, who was a four-star recruit according to Scout.com, originally chose Southern California as his collegiate home. He signed a letter of intent with USC and was pegged as the next great pass rusher from that program.
Jones missed the final five games of his freshman campaign with Southern California with a neck injury. At that point, head coach Lane Kiffin had the following to say about Jones' long-term prognosis (via Orange Country Register):
I’m not very positive about the possibilities of him playing here....I don’t know how to describe it from a medical perspective. There’s a serious concern that hits or a number of hits could lead to permanent damage.
Jones asked for and was granted his release from the scholarship.
The talented defensive end then chose Georgia to continue his college football career. The Bulldogs had offered him a scholarship the previous season before he decided to sign on with USC (via Scout.com).
The rest is pretty much history.
Jones is an enigma of sorts around the scouting community. Some point to a stellar career at Georgia as a guide to continued excellence in the NFL. Other point to a lack of solid tape and poor performances in generic scouting events when drawing the conclusion that the Georgia product will struggle at the next level.
Jones seems best suited playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. On that note, Ryan Lownes indicated where he thinks the talented pass-rusher would fit.
While many doubt Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh may be the ideal landing spot for the relentless blitzing linebacker.
After being considered a top-five prospect a couple of months ago, it seems that Jones' ceiling at this point is the mid-first round, in which case Pittsburgh would make sense.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com seems to agree with this assessment.
Talked to 5 scouts on UGA's Jarvis Jones. All said similar things: We knew he'd work out poorly. But he's a football player. Think mid-1st
Either way, I would be extremely surprised if Jones didn't land somewhere on the first day of the draft.
Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist here at Bleacher Report. Vincent is the head sports editor over at eDraft, co-host of Draft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus.
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