2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ronald Jones

  • Ronald Jones II, 6-0/200

  • Running Back

  • USC

  • Ronald Jones II Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Fast back
  • Very good first-step quickness
  • Explosiveness to the second level
  • Deep speed; can take runs the distance
  • Difficult to catch from behind
  • Slashing runner
  • Excellent feet
  • Elusiveness in the open field
  • Cutting ability
  • Keeps feet going after contact
  • Finishes runs well
  • Impressive lateral quickness
  • Good route-runner
  • Soft hands
  • Became a decisive North-South runner
  • Athletic upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Runs a little upright
  • Thinner build
  • Could use more weight for the NFL
  • May have a hard time holding up under a big work load

  • Summary: While other backs have gotten more attention, Jones was one of the more consistent and steady runners in college football over the past three seasons. He made an impact as a freshman, when he averaged 6.1 yards per carry for 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2016, Jones averaged 6.5 yards per carry for 987 yards with eight touchdowns. USC had a passing-driven offense, but Jones provided some clutch runs in the Trojans’ long winning streak that season.

    As a junior, Jones took his game to another level, averaging 5.9 yards per carry for 1,550 yards with 19 touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions for 187 yards and a score. That huge season led Jones to decide to skip his senior year and enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

    For the NFL, Jones is a slashing back who is a threat to rip off a long gain on any carry. He has excellent first-step quickness to fire out of the backfield. Jones explodes to the second level in a blur and looks to get North-South as quickly as possible. As a junior, Jones ran with more physicality to run through tackles and was a more decisive runner. The results were excellent, making the fast back all the more dangerous. When he gets into the open field, Jones is tough for defenders to catch as he has deep speed to take carries to the house.

    On top of being fast, Jones does not let his legs go dead on contact, and he finished runs really well in 2017. He is a shifty runner who regularly jukes defenders in the open field, using his quick feet to zig zag by defensive backs.

    While Jones didn’t see a lot of targets in college, he flashed nice receiving potential when given the opportunity. Jones is a good route-runner, tracks the ball well, and has soft hands. In the NFL, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jones ends up being a dangerous receiving threat and a mismatch in the passing game. Like any college back, Jones will need to learn NFL blitzes and work on his blocking before being trusted to protect a franchise quarterback.

    Jones would be best as a pro paired with a bigger back. Jones could also use more weight for the NFL as he has a thinner build and may have a hard time holding up under a big work load. He also runs a little upright, and that could cause him to take some hard hits. Having a physical workhorse to pair with Jones would make a lot of sense for his NFL team.

    Jones looks like a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draf. He should not last long if he slips to Round 3.

    Player Comparison: Jamaal Charles. Jones’ slashing running style and his speed to rip off yards in chunks is reminiscent of Charles during his glory years with the Chiefs. Charles (5-11, 200) and Jones are almost identical in size as well. In the 2008 NFL Draft, Charles was a third-round pick out of Texas. The Texas native Jones is likely to go in the second or third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

    NFL Matches: Cleveland, New York Giants, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Washington, Detroit, San Francisco and Pittsburgh

    There are a lot of teams that could consider taking Jones in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns moved on from Isaiah Crowell and signed Carlos Hyde. If they don’t land Saquon Barkley in the first round, Jones would make sense for one of their second-round picks.

    In the Big Apple, the Giants could use a feature back for their offense, and Jones would give them a dangerous rushing attack that they haven’t had in years. If they don’t take Barkley at pick No. 2, the Giants could be interested in Jones in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

    Similarly, the Colts could use a running back of the future to pair with Andrew Luck and bring a more steady rushing attack to their offense. Indianapolis could target Jones with one of its trio of second-round picks.

    In the Bay Area, San Francisco could use a lead back for its offense. Jones would be a good fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Ditto for the Raiders’ Jon Gruden. Oakland badly needs more consistency from its rushing offense. Predictably, Marshawn Lynch was a disappointment coming out of retirement, and Doug Martin isn’t a long-term answer. The Raiders need a true feature back to go with Derek Carr.

    Tampa Bay needs a feature back after moving on from Doug Martin. I think the Bucs are more likely to target other backs in the second round, but if they trade down from that pick, Jones could be in play for them.

    Staying with a theme of the Grudens, the Redskins could use a feature back for Jay Gruden’s offense. I’ve heard that Washington is high on Jones, and the team has shown a lot of interest in him. He would be a great fit in the nation’s capital.

    For years now, the Lions have had one-dimensional offense with one of the worst rushing attacks in the league. Detroit needs a true No. 1 back to bring some balance to the offense. Jones could interest the Lions, but they need a bigger bell-cow back as they already have some smaller shifty backs who are similar to Jones.

    The Steelers have Le’Veon Bell for another season, but they have not signed Bell to a long-term contract extension. The Steelers could draft Jones to be Bell’s future replacement.


    2018 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie’s | Walt’s

    2018 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

    2018 NFL Draft Scouting Reports

    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12