When Jones came to Georgia, he was a high school All-American and top-10 national defensive tackle prospect from nearby Warner Robins, racking up 15 sacks as a senior. Though he only managed one-third of that total during his first three years in Athens, his continued improvement over that time has sufficiently intrigued scouts -– to the point that they might have expected a breakout season in 2012. That didn't happen.
The son of two members of the military answered the call as a true freshman, earning one of the team’s Newcomer of the Year awards after playing in 12 games and being credited with eight tackles, two for loss, and a sack against LSU. He played in all 13 games in 2010, starting six games and making 34 tackles (3.5 for loss), though a back injury from a preseason car accident impacted his play throughout most of the season. As a healthy full-time starter in 2011, he led all Georgia defensive linemen with 48 tackles, seven for loss and four sacks as one of the team’s Most Improved Player Awards. In 2012, Jones started the first seven games at defensive end in the Bulldogs three man front, registering 17 total tackles and one for a loss. A left ankle injury sidelined Jones for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery in October, limiting his pre-draft preparation.
Lined up all over Georgia’s front line, even outside the tackle on some plays, but typically in a three-technique or shading the nose in obvious passing situations.Sometimes used in zone blitzes due to his footwork. Swims over leaning guards to penetrate, can also spin off a block and win the gap against a double-team. Plays with the strength to hold the line due to his thickness through the middle of his frame. Uses strong hands to move his blocker to either side in a two-gap system, looks to shed and owns the flexibility and length to dive at ballcarriers coming through the hole.
Initial movement and closing speed are inconsistent, better linemen get a jump on him off the snap and he might not have enough quickness to be a pass rush threat at the five-technique. Does not always extend his arms with pop to shock his opponent, and will fail to disengage against better blockers. Production is sporadic due to the team’s defensive line rotation, yet his stamina can still be an issue at the end of games. Looked much stiffer in 2012, especially when forced to change direction.
Looking like a versatile, strong and athletic member of Georgia’s front four, Jones showed real promise as a playmaker in 2011 (seven tackles for loss, four sacks) while moving all over the line. Something was different in 2012 besides the season-ending ankle injury, as Jones looked less explosive and stiffer when changing directions. Still, his frame translates to defensive tackle in a four-man front or an end spot in three-man line.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.