Photo of Jarvis Jones
Grade
88.8 ?
  • 6'2" Height
  • 33" Arm Length
  • 245LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/8" Hands

Overview

Despite earning many All-American honors as a high school star in Columbus, Ga., Jones initially took his game to Southern California to play for Trojans head coach Pete Carroll. Unfortunately, a neck injury suffered in his eighth game as a true freshman (13 tackles, 1.5 for loss) sidelined him for the rest of the year. Then Carroll left for the NFL after the season, and new coach Lane Kiffin and his staff weren’t sure Jones should suit up for them again. Doctors at the University of Georgia felt differently from those at USC about Jones’ neck, clearing him to play and clearing the way for him to transfer back home – much to the dismay of opposing offenses.



He redshirted the 2010 season in order to be fully healthy and prepared for SEC competition. That offseason work paid big dividends in his sophomore season, as he was named a finalist for the Butkus Award as the team’s linebacker and garnered consensus All-American and first-team All-SEC honors. The team captain started all 14 games, racking up 70 tackles, 19.5 for loss (which led the SEC) and 13.5 sacks (led the SEC, tied for fifth in the country). His four sacks helped the team win their annual rivalry game with Florida and earned him many national defensive player of the week awards. Jones stayed productive in 2012 as a redshirt junior, leading the nation in three categories: sacks (14.5, school record), tackles for loss (24.5, school record) and forced fumbles (7). Add 85 tackles, 4 passes defended and an interception and Jones was one of the top defenders in the country and was a finalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski, Butkus and Lott awards.

Analysis

Strengths

Versatile linebacker with a chance to play inside or outside. Possesses a very good first step to pressure tackles’ upfield shoulder. Also has closing speed to finish the deal and short-area quickness to keep contain outside and crash down on inside runs. Strong tackler with excellent length and upper-body strength to wrap up ball carriers. Gets under the pads of tackles, keeps his feet churning, to maintain leverage whether holding the edge or bulling his man backwards. Brings heavy hands, can rip off to get around the edge or cut inside to stop quarterbacks from stepping up in the pocket. Works through double-teams if the quarterback hangs onto the ball in the pocket. Holds his ground against pulling guards and fullbacks. Capable of locking up tight ends off the edge in coverage, also sorts out multiple routes in his direction to make a play on the correct one. Gets his hands up to affect passing lanes.

Weaknesses

One-year starter. Inconsistent using his hands to disengage from better blocks and to beat cut blocks from running backs in pass pro. Lacks an ideal frame to get much bigger and doesn’t have the growth potential to the bulk teams want at the position. Will need to prove he can stay with NFL ball carriers in space when dropping into the flat. Not particularly smooth in deep drops. Doesn’t have elite bend around the corner, and could use a spin or other counter move to keep tackles guessing. Missed the last five games of the 2009 with a neck injury, part of his senior year in high school with a broken thumb. There is some concern about his long-term durability due to his spinal stenosis condition, the same ailment that has caused some players to call it quits, including Marcus McNeill, Chris Samuels and Michael Irvin.

NFL Comparison

Bruce Irvin

Bottom Line

The Peach State native suffered a neck injury his true freshman year at USC, but returned home when cleared by Georgia doctors; the consensus All-American impressed scouts in 2011 with his ability to rush the passer and he didn’t let up in 2012, leading the nation in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles. Jones also showed the versatility to play the run and get the job done in coverage. He enters the NFL with some questions with his struggles disengaging at the point of attack and limited length and growth potential, but the production speaks for itself and, as Bruce Irvin reminded us last April, pass rushers don’t last long on draft day. Whether or not he would be able to fit in a 4-3 defense like Irvin would depend on how he is used, but he would fit best as a pass rush OLB in a 3-4 like in college. While his talent makes him a first-round pick, the medicals will be key to truly evaluating where Jones will be drafted.
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.
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