Once thought to be a lock as a top-10 pick, Jarvis Jones' draft stock has seemingly tumbled since the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine.
Perception isn't always reality, however, and Jones won't slide far down the board when the 2013 NFL draft kicks off on Thursday, April 25.
Jones chose not to work out for scouts at the combine, and then he posted an underwhelming time of 4.90 seconds in his 40-yard dash at his pro day.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock was at Jones' pro day and via ProFootballTalk.com said, “I think a 4.9 is a red flag. I talked to a lot of coaches and scouts and they all said the same thing: ‘Wow. A lot slower than we expected.’”
Jones isn't the first elite pass-rusher to post a bad 40 time, however. Terrell Suggs ran his 40 back in 2003 in the 4.8s, per ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley, yet he didn't fall out of the top 10 that year.
Plug in Jones' game tape and you see an intelligent player who understands how to get leverage on his opponent, possesses good strength and is a relentless worker. He didn't tally 28 sacks and 44 tackles for a loss in the SEC the past two years by accident.
Jones is a football player, in the words of Jon Gruden.
What this really means is that he is a gamer—a player who can't be defined by measurable drills.
Teams are always looking for impact players who possess off-the-chart athleticism and speed, but those players don't always work out.
Just take a look at the impact Dontari Poe had for the Kansas City Chiefs last year. He struggled badly because he doesn't understand how to play the game yet.
Jones understands how to produce. Period.
He may not be as fast as Dion Jordan, explode off the line like Barkevious Mingo or have the strength of Ezekiel Ansah, but he will be a highly productive player in the NFL—sooner rather than later.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, Jones' floor is the No. 17 overall pick, which is owned by the Pittsburgh Steelers: "The current buzz is that the Steelers are Jones’ floor, at No. 17 in round one. His ceiling is believed to No. 9 or No. 13 because, yes, there’s increasing chatter that the Jets could take him."
Frankly, I'll be shocked if Jones is still on the board when the Steelers pick. That said, he won't last any longer should he be available at No. 17.
Pass-rushers are invaluable in today's NFL. Jones has proved he can produce at the highest level in the toughest conference in college football, and he'll find plenty of success at the next level.
Jones won't last long once the first round kicks off, and the team that lands him will have one of the best players at any position in this year's draft.
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