Bloodlines: brother Arthur Jones plays for Ravens, other brother in MMA
Double-teams can wash him out
Summary: Jones has been one of the prospects who have seen their stock vault into the first round with a late surge. Many believe that he could be in play for a top-20 pick. He has received a lot of interest from teams across the NFL, and many have brought him in for pre-draft visits. He was never extremely productive in college, so teams are high on him from a potential standpoint.
Jones saw his first playing time as a red-shirt freshman in 2009. He totaled 52 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He improved his play as a sophomore, making 57 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, four passes batted and three forced fumbles. Jones missed five games in the first half of the 2011 season with a leg injury, but came back strong. He totaled 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and one interception in just seven games. If Jones had stayed healthy for the entire season, he could have produced some significant totals.
That being said, Jones really played well in 2011. He was extremely disruptive at the line of scrimmage. He has an excellent get-off that allows him to break into the backfield consistently. He blows up runs in the backfield and gets consistent pressure on the quarterback. Even though he only had 4.5 sacks this year, he put a lot of hits on the quarterback. He would beat tackles with a speed rush around the edge or a bull rush into the pocket. Entering the NFL, Jones has an advanced ability to shed blocks and get tackles hands off of him. His hand usage is superb. The vast majority of collegiate linemen don't execute like Jones does in that regard.
For the next level, Jones is going to have to develop a repertoire of pass-rushing moves. Typically, he tries to beat tackles with either his speed around the corner or his strength on a bull rush. He is going to need to add some rip, spin and other pass-rushing moves to compete in the NFL. If Jones uses just a speed or bull rush, NFL offensive tackles will be able to adjust quickly and potentially neutralize him, especially the good tackles. Jones lived off his athletic ability at Syracuse, but in the NFL, he will need to expand his game.
Scheme versatility helps Jones' draft stock as he should have the flexibility to be a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. He is a raw prospect, and the team that drafts him should expect some developmental time. If the expectations are for an immediate impact, that would be misguided and could put unnecessary pressure on him. It looks like he stands a good chance of being a first-round pick.
Player Comparison: John Abraham. Watching Jones reminds me of the veteran Abraham. They both can be very disruptive at the point of attack. Abraham (6-4, 266) is similar in size to Jones, and both have explosive speed around the edge. Abraham was more pro-ready entering the NFL and not as raw as Jones. At the next level, Jones could turn into an end who is similar to Abraham. He may not quite reach Abraham's sack totals, but Jones could be a better run defender. Abraham was the 13th-overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Jones is more likely to go a little later that that, but still should go in the first round.
NFL Matches: New York Jets, Cincinnati, Chicago, Tennessee, Detroit, Houston, New England, Green Bay
There are so many teams that are possible landing spots for Jones. He was one of the most active prospects in pre-draft visits and could easily go to an unexpected team. Jones fits many teams in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Jets are looking for a pass-rushing outside linebacker, and Jones is said to be a finalist for New York's pick at No. 16. The Bengals and Titans are both looking hard at the defensive line. Jones could be a fit for either team. Chicago may be one of his most likely landing spots. He visited the Bears, and they are allegedly targeting defensive ends in the first round.
If Jones makes it into the playoff teams from last season, there are many potential landing spots. The Lions and Texans could take an edge rusher in the first round even though they have more critical needs elsewhere. A huge need for a pass-rusher is present with the Packers and Patriots. They could consider Jones to fill the hole for an outside linebacker in their defenses.
Jones has taken pre-draft visits to the Bills, Panthers, Bears, Browns, Jaguars, Chiefs, Dolphins, Jets and Buccaneers.