Photo of Felix Jones
Grade
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  • 4.47 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 33.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 124.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6.90 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.19 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 6'0" Height
  • 200LBS. Weight

Overview

Arkansas' duo of Felix Jones and Darren McFadden electrified Fayetteville for years. The junior tandem is taking the act to the NFL and not everyone is convinced Jones won't go from super backup to superstar.

Jones proved to be one of the best outside rushers in the SEC, but also has excelled as a kickoff returner. His average of 28.21 yards per kickoff return ranks ninth in NCAA Bowl Subdivision annals.

Known for his big-play ability, Jones' average yards per carry of 7.66 yards would be one for the college football all-time record books, if not for Glenn Davis of Army averaging 8.26 yards (358 attempts, 2,957 yards, 1943-46). Since Davis, the only players to average over seven yards per carry (minimum 350 attempts) were Mike Rozier of Nebraska (7.16-yard average on 688 runs for 4,780 yards, 1981-83) and Reggie Bush of Southern California (7.32-yard average on 433 carries for 3,169 yards, 2003-05).

The Razorbacks' tandem of McFadden (1,830) and Jones (1,162) amassed 2,992 yards on the ground in 2007. The only other tandems to gain more yardage in a season in NCAA annals were Barry Sanders (2,628) and Gerald Hudson (369) combining for 2,997 yards for Oklahoma State in 1988 and Reggie Bush (1,740) and LenDale White (1,302) combining for an NCAA record 3,042 yards for Southern California in 2005.

In the history of college football, having two players from the same team rush for over 1,000 yards each in the same season has been accomplished 41 times. McFadden and Jones (2006-07) and West Virginia's Steve Slaton and Patrick White (2006-07) joined Marion Barber III and Lawrence Maroney of Minnesota (2003-04) as the only duos to accomplish that feat more than once in a career over the last 30 years.

At Booker T. Washington High School, Jones was named the Tulsa World Player of the Year following his senior season, after rushing for 2,282 yards and 48 touchdowns on 205 carries (11.1-yard average). He led his squad to a 13-1 record and a state runner-up finish, as Jones rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns in the 5A state championship game. He was sidelined with a broken ankle early in his junior season, but still managed to rack up 800 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. Rivals.com ranked him the 19th-best athlete in the nation and the fourth-best overall player in Oklahoma.

Jones enrolled at Arkansas in 2005, after he originally signed a letter of intent to attend Oklahoma State. He also turned down scholarship offers from Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kansas, Louisiana State and Nebraska. He became the first true freshman in school history to earn first-team All-American honors (as a kickoff returner), when College Football News named him to its postseason team.

He ranked second in the nation with a 31.94-yard average on 17 kickoff returns for 543 yards and a touchdown. He caught eight passes for 100 yards and gained 11 yards on a punt return. As a tailback, he started two of 11 games, totaling 626 yards with three scores on 99 carries (6.3-yard average), ranking second on the team. He also became only the second freshman in school history to run for over 100 yards twice in a game.

Jones garnered All-American honorable mention and All-Southeastern Conference first-team recognition as a sophomore. He started six of 14 games, amassing 1,829 all-purpose yards, the third-best total in the league. He also ranked second in the SEC with 154 carries for 1,168 yards (7.6-yard average) and six touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 107 yards (7.1 avg) and three scores. He ranked third in the conference with 23 kickoff returns for 554 yards (24.1 avg) and a touchdown in 2006.

Jones was a consensus All-American and All-SEC first-team selection as a kickoff returner, adding Associated Press third-team national honors as an all-purpose back in 2007. He started just three of 13 games, but gained 1,162 yards with 11 touchdowns on 133 carries, as his average of 8.7 yards per attempt set an SEC single-season. He made 16 catches for 176 yards (11-yard average) and ranked fourth in the nation with 652 yards and two scores on 22 kickoff returns (29.64 avg). He also finished 22nd in the country with 1,990 all-purpose yards, an average of 153.08 yards per game.

With a new coaching staff in place at Arkansas, Jones decided it was best that he follow McFadden. Both Razorbacks decided to enter the 2008 NFL Draft.

"In the past few weeks I have taken time to consider my football future, and what was the best opportunity for me and my family," Jones said. "My decision has not been an easy one as I have tried to balance my love for this university, this state and the Razor-backs vs. my desire to play in the NFL. Growing up, I dreamed of playing football on Sundays. After considering all of the factors, I am confident that my decision to forgo my senior season to enter the NFL Draft is the right decision. My three years at Arkansas have been some of the bet years of my life."

Jones closed out his career with 2,956 yards and 20 touchdowns on 386 carries, shattering school and SEC career records by averaging 7.66 yards per rushing attempt, as he started 11 of 38 games he appeared in. He also caught 39 passes for 383 yards (9.8-yard average) and three scores. He added an 11-yard punt return and tallied 164 points.

Jones ranks ninth in NCAA history with school and SEC all-time records, averaging 28.21 yards on 62 kickoff returns for 1,749 yards and four touchdowns. He joined Darren McFadden (5,881) as the only players in school history to gain over 5,000 all-purpose yards (5,099) in a career.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has a lean frame, but shows good muscle development and bubble, well-defined thighs and calves, large hands, wide back and room to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk with no loss of quickness...Has excellent quickness and explosion coming out of his stance into the rush lanes...Demonstrates the feet and balance to pick his way through trash and stay upright after initial contact...Has pick-and-slide agility to make tacklers miss, especially when he turns the corner...Plays with good toughness and competitiveness, as he will lower his head and square his shoulders to drive through after contact...Not really a punishing runner, but easily bounces off tackles and gives second effort when the rush lane is clogged...Self-starter and hard worker in the training room and will put in extra time watching film...Mature with good field intelligence and vision...Has a good attitude, as he never complained about sharing the rush load, despite his obvious pedigree...Has the sudden moves out of his stance to gain advantage and the quickness to avoid and accelerate past defenders...Shows a natural feel for the crease and displays excellent vision and hip swerve as he weaves through traffic, picking his feet nicely over trash...Hits the hole with no hesitation, showing the explosive leg drive to break arm tackles, as he works hard to get upfield inside and clear the line of scrimmage...Has a low center of gravity, which allows him to keep his base moving through tight areas and does not need to gear down when cutting...Instinctive in his movements, displaying the vision to see threats...Uses his blocks well...When he keeps his pad level low going through the rush lane, he has the short-area explosion and juke moves to elude defenders turning the corner, as he excels at cutting sharply with good acceleration...Has the body control and foot agility to step and slide on his way to avoid tackles...Has made strides in being more patient to let his blocks develop, showing a good feel for the hole and vision to spot the seam in the zone...Can find the inside hole but will run a little upright doing this and he knows how to adjust on the move, using impressive pick, slide and acceleration through the holes...Has the balance needed to keep his feet and shows a sharp burst out of his cuts...Has outstanding lateral range to gain yards in chunks on outside runs, utilizing excellent change-of-direction agility to can freeze defenders with fakes and body lean...As a junior, he displayed much better ball security and the hands to handle pitchouts (had problems grabbing the ball on the fly and running with it in 2006, resulting in five fumbles, compared to one in 2007)...Has improved his patience waiting for the toss to develop before trying to burst through the seam or turn the corner...One of his better assets is his ability to accelerate into the second level, redirect and break away for the long run...Very fast-twitched runner when attacking the hole and, while he might go down on first contact at times, he has that vision to locate small seams, sink his pads and try to slip past...Has the ability to jump-cut and shoot upfield...Has a very good feel to anticipate where the rushing lanes are and does a good job of keeping his pad level to break arm tackles around the corner (not as effective running inside)...Adequate pass catcher who shows good concentration and flexibility in his pass routes, extending his hands properly away from the framework, but will use his body as a crutch when working in a crowd...Makes good body adjustments toward the ball and shows patience, body control and vision waiting for blocks to develop as a returner...Best asset as a kickoff returner is that he creative enough to vary his speed, set up the defender, execute a fake and then accelerate into the open. Negatives: Has to learn to run at a lower pad level when running through the inside holes...Will get erect in his stance as an attempt to squeeze through tight areas...Has good leg drive, but will make bigger gains when trying to avoid, as he is generally brought down on the initial hit when operating in a crowd...He had just 22 runs on which the opposition needed more than one defender to take him down on 133 attempts in 2007...Elusive runner who does a good job of squaring up before initial contact, but must improve his body lean, as he does not do a good job of falling forward...Pitter-patter running style will see him get up on his toes...Just an adequate receiver who needs route-running refinement, as he tends to round his cuts...While he shows good hands on returns, as a receiver, he does not get to the ball at its highest point and can get a little sloppy trying to explode out of his breaks...Despite showing aggression as a blocker, his size prevents him from gaining leverage vs. bigger defenders (will get a piece of his man, but his weight-room strength fails to translate to the field, as he is not the type that can overpower second-level defenders). Compares To: CARNELL WILLIAMS-Tampa Bay...Both are best taking the ball outside. Jones is a water bug on the field, excelling at avoiding defenders when he clears the line of scrimmage. He has a Devin Hester-type of burst as a kickoff returner and has worked well within the two-back system. Team him up with a powerful inside runner and you will get better value. We doubt his frame can handle pounding associated with touching the ball 30 times a game at the next level, especially if he doesn't learn how to run at a lower pad level between the tackles. He greatly improved his ball-security ability as a junior, something that turned out to be a major problem for his running mate, Darren McFadden. Some teams might prefer Jones over McFadden, as he has greater avoidance skills, while McFadden is more likely to seek contact and has a few off-field issues to be investigated.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
NFL News
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