Howard Jones, OLB, Shepherd (HT: 6’2½” WT: 235 lbs)
|6’2 1/2”||235||34 1/8"||9 1/2"|
|40-yd dash||10-yd split||Vert||Broad||3-Cone||Shuttle|
- Has significant athletic potential and put in an impressive combine workout.
- Combine jumps verify his ability to generate power from his lower body.
- Noteworthy length with arms over 34 inches long.
- Has the body type to add weight.
- Uncommon ability to accelerate and hit top speed very quickly.
- Chases down plays frequently from the back-side and has long speed to pursue to great effect.
- Is much stronger than his size indicates.
- Has power at the point of attack to stand up blocks and hold his ground, even anchoring double teams at times.
- Can be trusted to contain from the outside.
- Will move back edge-blockers and keep outside shoulder free to turn backs inside to his help.
- Tremendous strength in his hands to deliver a blow to blockers and overwhelm them physically.
- Too fast and powerful for blockers after he gets a step on them, splits gaps to the inside very well.
- Miscast as a defensive end at Shepherd and still produced.
- Was less a dominant performer than he was a dominant athlete at the Division 2 level.
- Didn’t necessarily play the game at a faster pace mentally than his collegiate competition.
- Questionable instincts and play diagnosing skills for a non-pass-rushing linebacker prospect.
- Little experience playing from off the ball or playing in pass coverage, if any.
- Linear athlete more than one with significant lateral quickness.
- Drops his eyes to blockers and can be slow to locate the football.
- Is making a bigger leap in terms of competition level to the NFL than most prospects.
- Will need to move to a position he has little to no experience playing.
- Very unrefined and raw in terms of technique, pad level and hand usage.
- Looks uncomfortable playing from a three-point stance.
- Poor snap anticipation leads to him being slow off the ball regularly.
- Not an inventive or even instinctive pass-rusher.
- Falls back on a swim move too often and isn’t quick enough with it, exposes his chest too easily as well.
- Four-year starter for the Shepherd University Rams.
- 2013 First Team All-Mountain East Conference
- Holds school’s all-time sack record with 35
- NFLPA Collegiate Bowl participant
Howard Jones hit the radar with a tremendous combine performance, one that turned heads and sent many back to his film to get a better look. He put in the type of showing that will truly elevate his stock and ensure he’s drafted at the very least.
Jones will hear his name called later on in the draft for a variety of reasons, though. His game translates better as a 4-3 linebacker instead of a 3-4 rush linebacker, much rather a 4-3 defensive end.
Moving to a position he’s never played requires a fuzzy projection of his skills. He’s also quite raw and undeveloped in some of the more important aspects of linebacker play. His pulsating athletic skills will be the draw for teams, but he is more of a project than a pro-ready linebacker.
Draft Projection: 5th-6th Round