Jarvis Jones LB Georgia #29
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a 3-4 outside linebacker. A good athlete for his size. Impressive quickness of the snap. Has enough athleticism to drop into coverage and hold his own in certain matchups.
Run Defense: Lacks the strength to hold up at the point of attack, and probably can’t play end in a 4-3 for this reason. Bigger offensive linemen can easily neutralize him when they run directly at Jones. D.J. Fluker and Alabama made this work particularly well in 2012. Does a nice job diagnosing the play. Doesn’t pin his ears back on every play, even when he’s blitzing off the edge he keeps his eye on the play and is quick to react to a draw or screen. Has the speed to run down the ball carrier and typically takes correct angles in pursuit.
Pass Rush: Undoubtedly the strong suit of his game. Excels as a speed rusher off the edge. Frequently lines up wide and will simply beat the tackle with his pure speed. When matched up against D.J. Fluker of Alabama, there were a few plays where he timed the snap up perfectly and flew past Fluker. Once he’s stood up, he gives a solid second effort. He keeps his eyes on the backfield and is quick enough to slip between linemen on a second effort. Bull rush is very limited. When he isn’t able to disengage from a block, he gets stopped dead in his tracks and sometimes gets taken to the ground.
Coverage: Almost no experience dropping into coverage. Does not appear to have the speed or fluid athleticism to excel in man coverage.
Intangibles: Intelligent player who was well liked by teammates and coaches at Georgia.
Durability: Suffered what was believed to be a career-ending neck injury while at USC. Georgia’s training staff gave him the OK to play, however, which prompted him to transfer after one year at USC. Jones was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which has caused other players such as Marcus McNeill and Chris Samuels to retire prematurely.
Comments: Ignoring the health issue, Jones is an obvious first-round pick. His ability as a speed-rusher off the edge makes him an intriguing prospect for 3-4 teams. However, Jones may be limited to playing the 3-4. He lacks the strength to play end in a 4-3, and may lack the athleticism to really excel at strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 due to his limitations in coverage. If I were grading specifically for a team running a 4-3 defense, I would probably give Jones a 2nd- or 3rd-round grade. In a 3-4 scheme, he should be able to make an immediate splash as a pass-rusher, but may take some time to develop his all-around game while he gets stronger against the run. As for his health, teams will simply need to make a decision as to whether or not he’s worth the risk. He could be removed from some draft boards, but someone will likely roll the dice in the first round.