Ideal size for a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense
Concerns about maturity
Concerns about passion for game
Summary: Jones was a star recruit out of high school, and as a freshman, he immediately made an impact. Jones totaled 32 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, three sacks and three passes broken up in an impressive debut. With his strong start, the hype machine kicked on and many thought that Jones was poised to become a star.
In 2014, Jones recorded 26 tackles with three sacks and two passes batted. He commanded a lot of blocking attention, and that helped free up teammates Preston Smith and Caleb Eulls to have breakout seasons. Still, Jones' play wasn't overwhelming.
As a junior, Jones showed a lot of improvement as a run defender as he recorded 44 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and four passes broken up. Jones looked stronger at the point of attack and had a quality year for the Bulldogs. Many thought that Jones should return for his senior year, but he decided to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
In speaking with sources from around the NFL, they love Jones' skill set. Teams love his size, speed and athleticism for the next level. Jones is very fast off the ball with an excellent get-off. He has a serious burst out of his stance to get upfield and fire his gap. That causes Jones to cause some disruption instantly. He has length and strength to hold his ground and shed blocks. With his speed, natural strength, and athleticism, Jones has a ton of upside to develop. He could be an excellent interior pass-rusher and a tough run defender.
For the NFL, team sources say that Jones' best fit would come as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. With his length, speed and strength, Jones has an ideal skill set for that position. In a 4-3 defense, he could be a three-technique tackle or a left defensive end who moves inside in passing situations.
If Jones had a more consistent and productive history, he could be a pick in the top half of the first round. However, teams feel that Jones did not produce close to his skill set. They also have concerns about his maturity and his passion for the game. Those issues along with his underachieving potential put him on the bubble of Thursday and Friday night.
After surveying five teams, Jones has a range from late in the first round to the second round in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Muhammed Wilkerson. In conversations with scouts, they have compared Jones to Wilkerson in terms of his athletic skill set. If Jones is dedicated and works hard, he could be a player similar to Wilkerson. If Jones doesn't develop a work ethic and lacks a passion for the game, he probably will be a poor man's Wilkerson.
NFL Matches: Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, Buffalo, Washington, Cincinnati, Arizona, Seattle and Denver
There are a lot of potential fits for Jones in the first couple of rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft. Baltimore could make sense early in the second round. The Ravens cut Chris Canty and lost Haloti Ngata last offseason. Robinson could be the heir apparent for Ozzie Newsome.
The Saints have to upgrade their defense and particularly improve against the pass. Jones would give them an interior presence that they don't really have.
The Lions badly need to upgrade their defensive tackles. Jones would give them an interior defender to pressure the quarterback and could be a nice defender to pair with Ziggy Ansah.
Kyle Williams is aging for the Bills, and Buffalo could easily address its front seven this offseason. Jones could form a special tandem with Dareus.
Late in the first round, Cincinnati could be a fit. The Bengals could use another tackle to complement Geno Atkins. Brandon Thompson and Devon Still didn't turn into starters while Domata Peko is aging and declining.
Jones could also be in play for the Cardinals, as they have to replace Darnell Dockett and Dan Williams. Arizona wants to improve its defensive front this offseason. Jones could form a nice duo with Calais Campbell. Seattle could use an interior disruptor as well. Brandon Mebane left in free agency, and the Seahawks have had problems with a lack of interior pass rush once injuries have hit their defense.
The Redskins want to get younger and more athletic up front. Jones would certainly bring a good skill set for Washington.
Denver locked up Derek Wolfe, but lost Malik Jackson. Sources say the Broncos will be looking hard at defensive line talent in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Antonio Smith and Vance Walker aren't long-term players, while some other defensive lineman aren't far from free agency. Jones could be a fit for the Super Bowl champions.