As I mentioned yesterday, long, fast edge rushers are a necessity in today’s NFL. Exhibit A: last year nine of them were taken in the first round.
Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples (the reddest of flags and all) Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw, and Andre Branch should all be first rounders on April 26th. Chandler Jones may make it six.
Jones, the brother of UFC superstar Jon ‘Bones’ Jones’, earned All-Big East honors for Syracuse even after missing five games in his final collegiate season. Despite his relatively low numbers, Jones’ size (6’5 266 pounds) gives him the “look” of an NFL pass rusher.
That statement alone should scare you. Many have had the look of a pass rushing beast only to suck terribly in the show. Jones’ measurables are scary, and he faced frequent double teams at Syracuse due to a lack of talent around him, which could explain his pedestrian stats. Nonetheless, drafting based on “look” is a dangerous game.
Weight: 266 Pounds
Born: February 27, 1990
40-yard dash: 4.87
Vertical jump: 35 inch
Broad jump: 120 inch
Bench Press: 22 reps at 225 Pounds
Three-cone drill: 7.07
20-yard shuttle: 4.38
Arm length: 35 1/2 inches
Hands: 9 3/4 inches
2011: 7 GP 38 Tackles 7.5 Tackles For Loss 4.5 Sacks
2010: 13 GP 57 Tackles 9.5 Tackles For Loss 4 Sacks
2009: 12 GP 52 Tackles 10 Tackles For Loss 1.5 Sacks
2008: Red Shirted
What the experts say
I love his size and length. But I worry about defensive linemen who play upright, lack a great get off burst and struggle to change directions. I don’t see him as a big time pass rusher. But if he improves his pad level he could mature into a potential starting option.
Typically, Jones tries to beat tackles with either his speed around the corner, or his strength on a bull rush. In the NFL, he is going to need to add some rip, spin and other pass-rushing moves. In college, Jones could live off his athletic ability, but in the NFL, he will need to expand his game. Jones is a raw prospect, and the team that drafts him should expect some developmental time.
Awareness of how good of a football player Jones is is permeating throughout the league right now. He’s stout against the run, and he’s scheme-diverse. The 3-4 teams look at him as either a defensive end or an outside linebacker. The 4-3 teams love him as a base end.
Jones is one of the most underrated prospects in the entire 2012 class and just the kind of versatile defender Bill Belichick likes. Jones is long and athletic and can play end in an odd or even front, maybe even some outside linebacker in 3-4 looks.
Possesses a quick burst off the line which is enhanced by his ability to time the snap count. Does not have the speed to turn the corner consistently. Good upper body strength to drive his opponent into the backfield on the bull rush but lacks true explosiveness to rock them back onto their heels. Is a wrap and drag down tackler more than an explosive hitter that ball-carriers need to fear.
If Jones wants his potential to match his athleticism, he needs to consistently play with a lower pad level. Coverage technique is largely unknown. He dropped back a few times, but will most likely have to work on his footwork if he goes to a 3-4 team. Does a good job of keeping his hands active and will use his free hand to make a play while still being blocked.
Jones laid down a quick 10-yard split (1.63) and showed good bend during drills, and there’s also a lot to like about his arm length (35.4 inches) and upper-body strength. His 22 reps on the bench press are slightly below the four-year average for ends, but given his arm length it’s a noteworthy number. Jones is on the fringe of the first round, where the New England Patriots (Nos. 27 and 31) could be looking for help along the line. The Jacksonville Jaguars are another possible fit early in the second round.
Despite missing five games with a knee injury, Jones doesn’t figure to last past the middle portion of round two.
Jones was initially given a 3rd round rating by the NFL advisory board when he declared for the draft, and since then he’s shot up the boards. His other brother, Arthur, is a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens.
Likely to go late in the first round, it’s hard to imagine Jones starting right away.