Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is one of the most dynamic pass rushers coming out of college this year. While Jones plays predominately from the stand up position, he’s skilled enough to put his hand on the ground to rush the passer. Even though Jones is undersized to be a base 4-3 defensive end, he has the prototypical size to play the outside linebacker position in the 3-4 scheme. Playing in the very defensive heavy conference, Jones has emerged as not only the best linebacker prospect in the SEC but in all of college football.
6’3” 241 lbs
As a stand-up rusher Jones shows a burst right from the snap of the ball, although he is prone to offside penalty you have to love his aggressiveness. Watching film on Jones you will see that he is very instinctive when getting off the line to rush the passer coupled with his speed, the spin move can prove very lethal against offensive linemen trying to contain him. Using his athleticism performing stunts and moving along the defensive line gives him an advantage, with his most potent skillset in his repertoire is the strip/sack that reminds me of DeMarcus Ware when coming off a quarterback’s blindside.
As with most outside linebackers you have to be able to not only effect the pass game in rushing the passer, but be efficacious in stepping up to stop the run as well. This poses as no issue in Jones’ game as he led the NCAA in tackles for loss (44) and forced fumbles (7). During the game against Florida there were many times where Jones had to spin out of a block to bring the ball carrier down. If a ball carrier does get by him or is on the opposite side of the field he can shed his blocker and track down the runner with his relentless motor and closing speed.
One of the biggest questions on Jones is going to be about his spinal stenosis that caused him to leave USC as a freshman. He missed five games in 2009 with USC and two more games this year. Now that will not knock him out of the top ten in this year’s draft it is a growing concern. The medical staffs at the Combine will have all of his medical records to go through as well as putting Jones through some tests. This will give the decision makers all the information that they need to make the call if this is someone they want to invest millions of dollars into.
As Will Carroll of Bleacher Report recently reported, there are at least three teams in the NFL that have already red flagged the Jones. Normally when a team red flags a player, it usually means that he has been removed from their draft boards altogether. In Jones’ defense there hasn’t been anything advancements equipment wise that has been scientifically proven to protect him completely moving forward. With that being said, having only two incidents in four years I would lean toward Jones being worth the risk to take early on in the upcoming draft.
If there is a liability with Jones talent wise it would be his pass coverage. With proper coaching and film study meetings at the next level he will need to improve this aspect of his game. A quick back or an elusive fourth receiver will cause issues in pass coverage most likely resulting in requiring a safety to help over the top.
Jones is a top five talent that will be drafted in the top ten picks if not sooner. He fits well in the 3-4 scheme, seeing as how that is the defense run at Georgia. As I studied the film on Jones this past season he reminded me of Von Miller when he came out of Texas A&M. Both of them have comparable skill sets that will wreak havoc on offensive linemen for years to come.