First Round: 17th Pick
One of the most productive sack artists of the last two years, Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones figures to be a definite first-round selection in April’s draft. His smallish size and slight frame somewhat limits his position versatility (he’s strictly an outside linebacker) and has some medical concerns that will undoubtedly strike him off some draft boards, but 28 sacks and 45.5 tackles for loss in two seasons will be enticing enough for some team to pull the trigger on him in the first round. Despite having some weaknesses at the point of attack, Jones' tenacity and relentless motor have made him an unstoppable force in the SEC.
+ Above average first step off line
+ Uses leverage and converts speed to power well
+ Very productive college career
- Undersized with a slight frame
- Medical/injury concerns
- One-dimensional player who lacks pass rush moves
DNP (Pro Day)
Tools ( - )
Jones doesn’t have elite physical gifts, but he makes good use of the tools he does have. He has a good (but not great) first step off the line of scrimmage and displays impressive closing speed. His lack of height also helps him win the leverage battle against bigger players at times. His lower body is well built, but his upper body is somewhat slight and skinny. His lack of bulk and strength in his upper body gets him stuck on blocks at times and prevents him from disengaging quickly.
Jones was a team captain for Georgia. Originally a Southern California commit, doctors at USC diagnosed him with Spinal Stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal column. The doctors at USC would not clear Jones to play, leading him to transfer to Georgia. A groin pull lingered through most of his senior year, but it caused him to miss just one game.
Jones primarily played as the strong outside linebacker in Georgia’s one-gap 3-4 defense. While he was not used extensively in coverage, playing the strongside allowed him to match up more against tight ends in the run game, helping to protect him from getting engulfed at the point of attack.
Pass Coverage ( - )
Doesn’t drop into coverage much and Curl/Flat drops are the extent of it. But he takes an effort to get physical with inline tight ends and slot receivers and re-route them when dropping. Jonesisn’t a particularly long player and he lacks elite change-of-direction skills, so it’s unlikely that his pass coverage role will expand significantly in the NFL.
Pass Rush ( + )
Jones is not an overly flexible pass-rusher and struggles leaning into the tackle and skimming the corner. He’s at his most dangerous when rushing one of two ways: lined up from a wide alignment (allowing him to run the arc and beat the offensive tackle with speed) or playing very tight, allowing him to use leverage, get underneath the offensive tackle, and convert speed to power.
Despite his high sack totals, Jones actually has some untapped pass rush potential if he can learn to alter his pace and incorporate more slow and inside rushes against offensive tackles who over-set against his speed.
He also has a bad tendency to stop and reset when his initial pass rush move doesn’t work. If he can start chaining up moves together, improve his hand strength and utilize more inside rush lanes from over-setting offensive tackles, he should be a premier pass-rusher in the NFL. If hedoesn’t, he’ll likely be relegated to situational use.
Against the Run ( - )
Jones will give good effort as a playside run defender, but his lack of size and bulk can get him engulfed at the point of attack by offensive linemen and larger tight ends. When he’s not getting directly attacked by offensive linemen on base blocks, he shows a lot of tenacity and aggression on “wrong-arm” or “spill” techniques, where he crashes down against kickout blocks, causing a logjam in the backfield and forcing the ball-carrier to bounce outside.
Tackling ( + )
When Jones can corral the ball-carrier into a compressed space, he will usually wrap up with form and get the runner down. That said, his effort as a tackler is inconsistent—mostly due to the attempts he won’t bother trying to make. It could very well be from trying to protect himself from injury due to his medical condition, but he will go through bursts of disinterest in regards to attempting tackles in space or hustling in pursuit.
Use of Hands ( - )
Jones displays decent hand strength in his punch. However, he is often too slow to shoot his hands and loses inside placement too often, letting blockers get into his chest and root him out of his spot. He also lacks an extensive array of pass rush moves, preferring to try and bull rush the offensive tackle and convert speed to power.
While his initial punch has some pop to it, Jones isn’t naturally strong in the upper body and can struggle to disengage once he gets locked up with a blocker. His lack of extensive moves, disciplined hand use, or upper body strength (combined with inflexibility) is a big reason why he can struggle against athletic tackles with length.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Since Jones isn’t a lengthy or overly flexible pass-rusher, his lack of size will keep him from being a hand-in-the-ground defensive end. His best fit will come as a 3-4 linebacker where he can operate with wider alignment and in space. Some 4-3 teams will likely covet him as a strongsidelinebacker, but he will need to gain experience playing off the line of scrimmage and improving as both a run and coverage defender.