Jones might not be the biggest or strongest interior defensive lineman in the 2013 draft class, but he won’t be outworked by any of them –- and he’s one of the most productive defensive linemen in the country. Double-digit sack totals are rare for players lining up between the tackles, but Jones was able to accomplish that feat in 2012 using the relentlessness and consistent leverage that will give him a shot to make it at the next level.
His lack of size kept him off BCS teams’ radars despite his All-State efforts growing up in Indiana, but Jones made a strong impact as a true freshman in 2009, starting four of 13 games played (29 tackles, 2.5 for loss, one sack). MAC coaches voted him third-team all-conference as a sophomore after he started all 12 games, racking up 39 tackles, 11 for loss, and six sacks, then elevated him to the All-MAC first-team squad in 2011 when he increased all of those numbers while starting every game as a team co-captain (47 stops, 14 for loss, 8.5 sacks). In his senior year, Jones was named first-team All-MAC, MAC Defensive Player of the Year, and even earned third-team AP All-American honors. On the season, Jones registered 42 tackles (19 for loss) and 12.5 sacks.
Stout, high-effort interior lineman who also flashes good short area quickness. Brings power out of his stance and an explosive punch into a blocker’s chest when man-up. Constantly has a leverage advantage with his low center of gravity, and possesses the quickness and hustle to move his feet to win a gap or bull his man towards the quarterback on pass plays. Spins off blocks or uses an arm-over move to reach the quarterback. Gives effort to the sideline when the ball is on his half of the field. Works at the five-technique at times, crashes inside adeptly and plays his containment responsibilities well.
Shorter than most teams prefer inside. Has only average bulk and won’t overpower NFL veterans. Can be put to the ground if losing his leverage advantage while being blocked on the move. Not elite in his quickness off the snap, might have troubles beating NFL interior linemen as a first-step pass rusher and wind up a NT/DT tweener in some systems. Lacks the closing speed to track down ballcarriers outside the tackle box without help from teammates.
Some NFL teams won’t like Jones’ less-than-ideal size, but all scouts appreciate his on-field effort, short area quickness, and arm usage that challenges opposing offensive linemen on every snap. Jones' sizeand lack of elite physical tools will likely prevent him from being anything more than a late-round draft pick, but he could eventually work himself into a defensive line rotation.
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.