Despite Jarvis Jones’ performance over the past two seasons at Georgia, his NFL draft stock was in question due to a near-career-ending injury suffered while playing for USC in 2010.
But those questions should be resolved thanks to a report from NFL.com’s Gil Brandt
Each team will still want to learn more about the injury and its potential long-term impact on Jones’ ability to play. But this is clearly a step in the right direction.
Jones was obviously cleared to play by the medical staff at Georgia and, according to Brandt, has been cleared by more doctors.
Presumably Jones will go through more medical testing at the combine along with everyone else, so teams will have multiple reports to lean on if they’re concerned about his health.
In the end, Jones’ health will likely be a non-issue.
Tyler Wilson QB Arkansas #8
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height. Well built, can stand in the pocket and take a hit. Decent athleticism. Not an elite threat with his legs, but can take off running and pick up some yards. Has proven to be a tough competitor and is willing to stand in the pocket and take hits.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Arm strength is very average. He can put adequate speed behind the ball when he has time to step into it, but he lacks the natural arm strength to consistently make the same throws when under pressure or on the run. Doesn’t have the strength to fire the ball into tight spots beyond 15-20 yards. He can get the ball downfield, but he tends to put more air under the throw than you’d like to see. Accuracy is adequate at the short and intermediate range, but gets shaky on his deeper throws.
Footwork/Release: Has a slightly awkward delivery. Takes a long windup and frequently takes an exaggerated step forward which alters his release angle. Footwork is shaky in the pocket. Pressure definitely gets to him and affects his delivery. He can move outside the pocket, but he struggles to keep his eyes down the field while moving within a closing pocket.
Decision making: Typically goes through his progressions methodically and remains patient in the pocket. Will get flustered by pressure at times, especially when his offensive line is struggling to protect him. Does his best to find a man downfield, but knows when to check down.
Intangibles: Developed into a team leader during his two years as the starter. Has plenty of experience against elite competition and played through adversity at Arkansas as a senior.
Durability: Missed time with a head injury as a senior.
Comments: Wilson has enough tools to be consider a potential future starter, but he’s very average across the board. He deserves credit for the toughness he showed at Arkansas and the shaky situation with his coaching staff during his senior year needs to be taken into consideration. However, it’s also worth noting that he played with four NFL-caliber receivers as a junior (Cobi Hamilton, Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs) which may have skewed the public perception of him during the 2011 season. With only Hamilton returning in 2012, Wilson’s progress stalled. The most concerning aspect of Wilson’s game is his limited arm strength. He masks it well by winding up and putting his whole body into the throw when given time, but he’ll be under pressure more frequently at the next level and he lacks the natural arm strength to make the necessary throws into tight windows. He may emerge as an average starter at some point during his career, but his upside is limited and he should not be drafted as a future franchise quarterback.
1. Defensive Tackle
The Carolina Panthers selected Sione Fua and Terrell McClain in the third round of the 2011 draft to solidify their interior line. McClain is now gone and Fua is coming off another disappointing year. The Panthers top priority this offseason needs to be to solve their issues up front on defense.
2. Wide Receiver
Steve Smith is still playing at a high level and Brandon LaFell was a solid contributor this year. But Cam Newton needs another weapon to help continue his development as a passer. In the second or third round the Panthers should consider bringing another receiver aboard.
3. Offensive line
Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil are still locked in to starting roles. And left guard Amini Silatolu will be given at least one more year to develop. But the right side of the line is a liability. Veteran guard Geoff Hangartner and right tackle Byron Bell could both be replaced this offseason.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been thin in the secondary for a few years. They added a major piece of the puzzle with Mark Barron last year, but they still need to upgrade the situation at cornerback. Eric Wright was overpaid last offseason and is now likely to be cut loose.
2. Inside Linebacker
2011 third-round pick Mason Foster has failed to develop and the Bucs could take advantage of a deep class of inside linebackers. Alec Ogletree and Kevin Minter could be first-round options.
3. Defensive tackle
Gerald McCoy is locked in as a starter as the three-technique, but the Bucs could use a nose tackle to plug in next to him. Brian Price failed to fill that hole. Roy Miller stepped in for Price and did an adequate job, but he’s a free agent and likely to be allowed to sign elsewhere.
1. Wide receiver
The Miami Dolphins have survived with Brian Hartline and Davone Bess, who have developed into quality second and third options. But Ryan Tanneshill needs a true No. 1 receiver to help him develop into the quarterback the Dolphins believe he can be. Ideally, the Dolphins can land a tall, outside receiver to complement Bess, who excels in the slot.
2. Defensive end
The Dolphins have been playing Jared Odrick out of position at defensive end when he would be better suited to play the three-technique tackle position. Cameron Wake is an elite pass rusher, but replacing Odrick with a more traditional end.
3. Offensive line
If Jake Long isn’t re-signed, this need jumps to No. 1. Jonathan Martin struggled as a rookie at right tackle and the Dolphins can’t afford to shift him to left tackle. In fact, they should probably consider a shift inside to guard.
Mike Glennon QB N.C. State #8
Size/Athleticism: Impressive height. Can stand tall in the pocket and easily see the whole field. Somewhat skinny, but has shown he can take some hits. Below average athleticism. Not a threat to run. A very awkward athlete who doesn’t have the fluid mobility to avoid the pass rusher or move well within the pocket. Does not look comfortable throwing on the run. When forced to move out of the pocket he struggles to quickly get his body into a throwing position.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Elite arm strength, can make any throw asked of him. Displays excellent touch on his passes when given time in the pocket. He has a rocket launcher arm, but but knows how to take something off to drop it in over coverage. Accuracy is adequate when he has time to set his feet and throw. But when pressured, his accuracy becomes shaky.
Footwork/Release: No issues when he has time to throw, but when pressured his mechanics break down. When pressured, his movements are awkward and he struggles making the adjustments to throw in tight spaces when he’s limited by bodies around him. He throws too many balls with unnecessary arm-angle adjustments and awkward foot positioning which almost always leads to inaccurate passes.
Decision making: Fairly developed in this area of the game. Shaky offensive line forced him to develop quick decision-making skills. He’s usually patient in the pocket and doesn’t panic at the first sign of pressure. He appears to be able to handle pre-snap reads without any issues, but he struggles to quickly pick up defensive adjustments after the snap.
Intangibles: Glennon comes across as an intelligent player who made noticeable strides during his two years as a starter. Older brother Sean played quarterback at Virginia Tech and spent time with the Vikings during the 2009 offseason.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: Due to his raw skills Glennon has a very high ceiling, but it’s clear that it will take a lot of work to get there. Glennon’s lack of mobility, coupled with his decision-making skills, will make for a very difficult transition to the NFL if he’s thrown into the fire too early. Defensive coordinators will have no problem confusing Glennon by bringing blitzes from different areas of the field and disguising their coverage. However, Glennon appears to be an intelligent player who may be able to make the necessary adjustments in time. He clearly has the arm strength, touch and accuracy to be an adequate starter once he develops the mental aspect of the game.
Ryan Nassib QB Syracuse #12
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height. Very well built; he can take some hits without any issue. Not a serious threat to run, but Syracuse did use him on some designed runs. Elite mobility within the pocket. Climbs the pocket extremely well and has the quick feet to avoid pass rushers and buy some extra time in the pocket.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Elite accuracy on short and intermediate throws. Displays excellent timing on his throws, consistently hitting receivers in stride. Does a great job with anticipation and throwing to spots. Arm strength is adequate, but nothing special. He can get the ball down the field, but on throws beyond 25 yards he tends to put too much air under the ball and his accuracy declines slightly. Syracuse’s offense required a range of legitimate NFL throws and Nassib can make them all at an above-average level.
Footwork/Release: Impressive fundamentals in all aspects of the game. Footwork within the pocket is a real asset. His ability to maneuver within the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield will help ease his transition to the NFL and allow him to handle the increased speed of the game. Possesses an extremely quick release. His release, coupled with his pocket mobility, will help him limit sacks at the next level – a trait which many young quarterback struggle with early in their careers.
Decision making: Very patient in the pocket. Deliberately goes through his progressions and consistently makes the right decision. Rarely forces the ball into tight coverage and is willing to check down when necessary. Occasionally tries too hard to stand tall in the pocket and needs to learn when it’s necessary to simply tuck the ball and take a sack. He keeps the ball exposed for too long and lost too many fumbles as a result.
Intangibles: Soft-spoken but coaches speak highly of his leadership qualities off the field. Quickly picked up the new offense installed at Syracuse last offseason. Nassib also deserves credit for remaining confident despite an extremely weak supporting cast at wide receiver. During three games I charted from Nassib’s senior year, I counted 16 drops by his receivers, on top of multiple other instances of receivers taking a passive approach to catching the ball which allowed defensive backs to make plays. At the next level, Nassib will have significantly more success throwing down the field if surrounded by a quality supporting cast.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: Nassib has the tools to be an above average starting quarterback. He also has the fundamentals and football IQ to start immediately and be effective as a rookie. What impresses me most about Nassib is the way in which he moves within the pocket. So many college quarterbacks either force a throw, or take off running at the first sign of pressure. Very few have the ability and confidence to move within the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. Nassib lacks the elite physical tools of an Andrew Luck, but he is uniquely qualified to step into an immediate starting role. I fully expect him to have an Andy Dalton-like rookie year if given the opportunity to play immediately.
1. Offensive Line
The San Diego Chargers offensive line is in critical condition, and it’s only going to get worse if they part ways with Jared Gaither. The Chargers first-round pick is all but guaranteed to address the offensive line. Chance Warmack, Lane Johnson and Eric Fisher are all possibilities.
2. Nose Tackle
Aubrayo Franklin is an unrestricted free agent and Cam Thomas has failed to live up expectations through his first three years in the league. The Chargers need to find a solution at nose tackle in order to effectively run John Pagano’s defense.
3. Wide Receiver
Malcolm Floyd remains a reliable target for Philip Rivers, but the Chargers clearly missed Vincent Jackson this past season. The could use someone capable of playing in the slot, and also a guy who stretch the field.
1. Offensive Guard
The Tennessee Titans running game has stalled over the past few years, and while some of the blame should fall on Chris Johnson, he hasn’ t been supported by the offensive line. Steve Hutchinson is a Hall of Famer, but he’s 35 and doesn’t have much left in the tank. Chance Warmack could be an option in the first round.
2. Strong Safety
Jordan Babineaux has been a weak link in the secondary for the past few years and it’s time for the Titans to bring in some competition. Matt Elam would be an ideal replacement in the second round.
3. Tight End
Jared Cook is an unrestricted free agent and never really lived up to expectations in Tennessee. If the Titans are hoping for Jake Locker to take the next step, they need to upgrade the supporting cast around him.
Tavon Austin WR Weset Virginia #1
Size/Athleticism: Vastly undersized. Has the speed to take the top off the defense, but lacks the height to be an ideal deep threat. Teams will need to get creative in the ways they get Austin the ball, because he’s the type of receiver that needs to be open in order to come down with the football. He lacks the height and physical style of play to battle for the ball in tight coverage. Once the ball is in his hands, he becomes a running back and is a threat to pick up chunks of yardage after the catch. Frequently lined up in the backfield at West Virginia and also used on end-arounds. A dangerous weapon in the return game.
Separation Skills: Elite speed. Safeties always have to be aware of him on the field because he can get a step an just about any cornerback in man coverage. Very limited in the amount of routes he has been asked to run. Vast majority of his receptions came on quick slants and drag routes. He caught very few balls further than five yards past the line of scrimmage.
Ball Skills: Inconsistent hands. Seems to struggle hauling in fastballs (see 2011 LSU game in which ball goes through hands and bounces off helmet). Lacks the height and strength to battle for jump balls. If he’s not open, he’s not coming down with the ball. He will need to be used primarily in the slot for this reason.
Intangibles: Coaches say he developed into a leader late in his carer and became a mentor to young players on the team.
Durability: No known issues, but his lack if size definitely puts him at risk for injuries in the future.
Comments: Austin is an intriguing weapon but it’s important to not get carried away with projecting his impact at the next level. It’s easy to fall in love with his highlight-reel plays, but realistically he is only a return specialist and a slot receiver at the next level. He can definitely be a valuable weapon, but he isn’t someone to build around. What concerns me most about Austin are his hands. Slot receivers tend to drop a few more passes based simply on the difficulty to hauling in a pass with limited reaction time, compared to having time to adjust on throws further downfield and on the outside. So when a slot receiver such as Austin enters the league with questionable hands, it raises a red flag.