Why Undrafted?: Jarron Jones

By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Three years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. A year later, we started the Why Slide? series, and this year, it is back. Feel free to email me requests for “Why the Slide?” and “Why Undrafted?” at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely respond.

Every year in the NFL Draft, there are some surprising players who go undrafted. One of them for the 2017 draft class was Notre Dame defensive tackle Jarron Jones. He recorded 45 tackles with 11 for a loss, two sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble in 2016, but was more active for Notre Dame than the numbers illustrate. At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, he fits as a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end. With his versatility and a quality skill set, it was surprising to see him slip through the 2017 NFL Draft and go unselected.

Some sources said the reason that Jones went undrafted was because they had given him a free agent grade based off of inconsistent play. They didn’t feel he was good enough to be drafted. A few other teams said they had a sixth- or seventh-round grade on Jones, but he slipped through the draft. One could argue that Jones didn’t produce up to his potential, and he had medical concerns due to a torn MCL cost him the 2015 season.

After going undrafted, Jones signed with the New York Giants, which was a good choice. The Giants lost veteran starting defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins in free agency, so they had a need at the position. New York addressed it with second-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson, so Jones is most likely going to be competing for a backup spot behind Tomlinson and Snacks Harrison. Jones has the skill set to stick in the NFL, but he is going to have to demonstrate a strong work ethic with more consistent play and avoid any suggestion of being lazy. The Giants like to rotate their defensive linemen and need depth, so it was a good team to sign with, but Jones’ NFL future is largely going to be determined by his work ethic and consistency on the field.

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