On film, two things immediately distinguish Christian Jones from the field: unique length and rapid acceleration.
His draft projection wildly wavers depending on whom you ask. Sites such as NFL Draft Scout and FFToolbox.com have him pegged as a fourth-round talent. Others, such as B/R's Darren Page, slot him between the second and third round.
Assessing Jones' overall skill set, NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki added:
Chiseled, height-weight-speed see-and-go reactor with intriguing athleticism, versatility and upside who shows in flashes, but leaves evaluators wanting more. Is likely to boost his stock during the pre-draft process, and could warrant consideration from 4-3 teams as a Sam or Will, or from 3-4 teams as a rush linebacker. Play will reach another level if/when his processor speed catches up to his physical talent.
In recent years, the bulk of Jones' snaps were split between inside linebacker and (4-3) defensive end. However, he occasionally lined up as an outside linebacker as well.
If he was inserted into a 3-4, Jones projects best at the "Sam" position—a spot currently occupied by (arguably) the Chiefs' most pivotal defensive player, Justin Houston.
That being the case, Jones could revert back to the inside as a "Jack" 'backer, but that's anchored by another Pro Bowler, Derrick Johnson.
Florida State's star also flaunts the skill set of a "Will," but with Tamba Hali penciled in as the starter, that hypothetical is a different detour to the same dead end as well. (Also, he would need to pack 15 to 20 pounds onto his frame, which is a task that wouldn't be accomplished within a single offseason.)
So, why should the Chiefs keep tabs on Jones?
As of today, only seven linebacking corps collectively account for larger (projected) 2014 cap hits than Kansas City's, per Spotrac. Considering Houston's sticker price still dates back to his rookie contract, and the fact that No. 50 may ink an extension this offseason, the club could lead the aforementioned pack before opening day.
If Jones, after a year of grooming, shows promise at the primary role he's eventually assigned to, the Chiefs can sever ties with Hali or Johnson, unloading their swollen contracts in the process.
Meanwhile, for the immediate future, Jones, who moonlights as a special teams ace, could provide much-needed linebacker depth.
Regardless, if a talent like he or Jordan Tripp fall to the fourth round, snagging one of the two will prove to be a worthwhile investment.