Christian Jones, OLB, Florida State (HT: 6’3⅛” WT: 240 lbs)
NFL Comparison: Manny Lawson, LB, Buffalo Bills
|6031||240||33 1/2"||9 5/8"|
|40-yd dash||10-yd split||Vert||Broad||3-Cone||Shuttle|
- Defined, rocked-up body type.
- True sideline-to-sideline type speed.
- Significant initial burst off the line of scrimmage or out of stance as an off-ball linebacker.
- Drives forward from off the ball with tremendous acceleration.
- Can press tackles on the corner with speed and work rush moves from there.
- Showcases a deadly spin move back to the inside to beat tackles.
- Came along in terms of power rush moves in a short time as an edge-rusher.
- Light feet to change directions in pass-coverage.
- Comfortable dropping from the line of scrimmage in a backpedal, effective in zone blitzes.
- Terrific job playing blocks with leverage to set a hard edge, keeps outside shoulder free.
- Improved hand usage when taking on blocks over course of 2013 season.
- Extends hands to create space and can keep blockers from locking up his chest.
- Adequate abilities to shed and finish when playing off blocks.
- Keeps eyes up while engaged and finds the ball well.
- Breaks down well in space to make tackles in one-on-one situations.
- Terrorized offenses who left him unblocked as part of scheme, too athletic in space for offensive linemen.
- Disciplined not to run to himself out of plays, picks up on misdirection well.
- Doesn’t always play to his true athletic potential because he’s slow to process and hesitates.
- Plays with too much finesse and not enough tenacity on occasion.
- Tries to feel his way around the box as a traditional linebacker off the ball.
- Lacks great flexibility to flatten out around the corner as a pass-rusher.
- Not an instinctive rusher who can pick up on the weaknesses of a pass-blocker.
- Lacks a developed repertoire of rush moves.
- Doesn’t pack a punch to jolt blockers, struggles to reset the line of scrimmage in a contain role.
- Lacks the fortitude to consistently stand up drive blockers, has weight limitations for the line of scrimmage.
- Usage of hands to play off blocks is still rather inconsistent.
- Poor anticipation of blocks playing from the interior, can be overloaded by the amount of movement.
- Little awareness of route runners in pass coverage, can lock onto the QB to a fault.
- Could be described as a workout or practice warrior who isn’t the same player on game day.
- Doesn’t have an obvious positional fit in the NFL.
- A 4-star prospect as a recruit in class of 2010, ranked 27th in the ESPN 150.
- Three-year starter with time spent at weak-side and strong-side linebacker spots.
- 2013 All-ACC second team.
Christian Jones is a perfect example of a prospect whose draft stock steadily rose over the course of his senior season. After laboring as a weak-side linebacker who played off the ball for over a season, a position change that put him on the line of scrimmage did a world of good.
Jones was able to play to his true speed by being utilized as an edge linebacker where he had fewer reads to make. In fact, he really grew into the position late in the season. Improvements in hand usage, leverage, gap discipline and pass-rush moves were all noticeable. That says a lot about how he takes to coaching.
His best positional fit in the NFL is not yet clear. He plays much faster as an edge player, so a 4-3 under defense or a transition to a 3-4 rush linebacker spot makes sense. Christian Jones will need development wherever he lands, which probably means he has the potential to be molded into a variety or roles.
Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd Round