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Barrett Jones Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Alabama OG

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Barrett Jones Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Alabama OG
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Barrett Jones

St. Louis Rams

Fourth Round, 113th Pick

Barrett Jones, a two-time All-SEC lineman and 2011 Outland Trophy-winner, is among the most-decorated linemen in college football history. 

During his four years at Alabama, he started 39 games and left a legacy that future Crimson Tide linemen will strive to live up to for years to come. 

Despite his status among the all-time greats in the college game, Jones is an average NFLprospect whose success at the next level is far from guaranteed. 

Strengths

Jones' greatest asset is his versatility. During his career at Alabama, he made 25 starts at guard, 10 at left tackle and 14 at center.

While he doesn't project as a star at any of those positions in the NFL, teams absolutely love offensive linemen who can play multiple positions. The type of versatility that Jones has displayed could bump him up at least a full round from where he would be projected based on his skill set at any one spot. 

Weaknesses

Jones isn't going to win any battles based on his raw physical tools. He lacks the strength to overpower anyone and there will be certain matchups in which he needs help at the next level, especially as an interior lineman. 

Despite the fact that he is as technically sound as any collegiate lineman, his physical limitations are tough to ignore. He has a fairly low ceiling and he's already pretty close to reaching it.

Tools

At 6'5" Jones is tall for an interior lineman. More guards and centers have entered the league at Jones' size in recent years, but to do so requires the ability to stay low and play with leverage. Jones shows this ability in spurts, but he's inconsistent. At this stage of his career, his height is definitely working against him as an interior lineman. 

His overall athleticism isn't anything special either, but he gets the job done. When asked to pull or when he needs to get to the second level of the defense, he gets to his spot quickly and efficiently. 

Overall, Jones' tools are average across the board. His strength and athleticism aren't exceptionally impressive and he rarely wins battles based solely on his natural ability. 

Intangibles/Character/Injury Concerns

Jones is the ultimate teammate, as he demonstrated throughout his career at Alabama. His willingness to switch positions showed that he will always put the team first—especially when he gave up the glamorous left tackle job to shift inside to center. 

Away from the field, Jones ranks among the most accomplished players in this year's draft and was awarded the 2012 William V. Campbell award, given to the nation's top student-athlete in football.

Despite making 39 career starts, Jones has a somewhat extensive history of injuries.

Jones is coming off an injury suffered in the SEC Championship Game. He had torn ligaments in his foot, which limited his ability to practice prior to the BCS National Championship Game, although he did play with the injury against Notre Dame.

As a sophomore, Jones missed the final two games of the regular season with a high ankle sprain.

Jones' true freshman season was cut short after three games due to a shoulder injury. He received a medical redshirt and returned to play four more years.

System

Due to his versatility, Jones can play in any system. 

The only scenario in which a team may not see him as a great fit would be if the team were looking to add a power-interior run-blocker. Jones gets the job done, but he isn't a mauler who will consistently blow open holes in the defensive line. 

Pass-Blocking

Jones is a bend-but-don't-break lineman in pass protection. Rarely does he finish a guy off, and yet he somehow manages to get the job done on a consistent basis. 

He appears to possess impressive lower-body strength which allows him to re-anchor and recover when he's been beat off the snap. There are times when a bull rushing defender will clearly get an upper hand on him, but Jones manages to hold his ground despite losing the leverage battle. 

Run-Blocking

 

When he's able to initiate the contact with the defensive lineman, Jones can open up holes in the run game. However, there are times when he simply lacks the quickness off the snap and when he loses the initial battle, he get can pushed around. 

He has enough athleticism to get to the second level, but he lacks the agility to quickly adjust to block in space. He's at his best when immediately engaged off the snap, and struggles to make the quick adjustments to put himself in position to engage with a linebacker downfield. 

Blocking In Space/Recovery 

 

This is one of the primary weaknesses in Jones' game. He is capable of getting down the field, but unless he catches a linebacker by surprise, he doesn't win many battles at the second level. 

Jones simply lacks the lateral movement to contain linebackers who possess superior foot quickness and overall athleticism.

Hand-fighting/Technique

Jones survives despite limited physical tools due to his technique. Unless he is beaten off the snap by a quicker defensive lineman, he is rarely caught out of position.

When Jones has the luxury of a second or two to drop back and get set in his pass protection, he consistently displays proper footwork and maintains his balance.

The only time Jones' fundamentals break down is when a defender beats him off the snap. If he is forced to engage before he sets his feet, Jones often loses his ability to play with leverage. In these scenarios, he  often plays from a more-upright position, which hinders his ability to hold his ground.

Future Role/Versatility

Jones can play center, guard or even right tackle in the NFL although he fits best at guard.

At right tackle, Jones' lack of foot quickness will make him susceptible to faster edge-rushers and he will be a liability in pass protection.

Jones can definitely play center, but it is preferable to have a slightly better athlete at the position. Jones lacks the explosive athleticism to snap the ball and maneuver into position, especially in pass protection. As a result, there will be times when he simply gets blown off the line of scrimmage by a dominant interior pass-rusher in the NFL.

However, at guard Jones has an extra half-second to position himself, improving his ability to handle bull-rushers on the inside.

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