Players to Watch: Landry Jones

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To begin our analysis we must first notice the system Jones plays, Oklahoma’s. Last offseason, Sam Bradford received much criticism for playing in Oklahoma’s spread offense. There are never less than 3 receivers, and typically 4, on the field at all times. This allows the quarterback to sit back in a shotgun formation and make a quick read. There are very few play-action calls and Jones’s back is never turned to the defense. While this makes for a very effective college offense, it does not translate well to the NFL. Jones’s 2010 numbers are very impressive regardless of the offensive system, but they still must be viewed in perspective. The Oklahoma offense is known for skewing a quarterback’s numbers, and that is exactly what we saw last year.

If you disagree with this point, than just look at the tape; Landry Jones is a stereotypical young college football player. Jones relies far too much on his natural physical abilities, instead of good technique or football knowledge to make plays. After watching just a few plays, it does not take long to notice that Jones’s release and ability to read defenses, is far below the statistics he puts up. His delivery is sloppy and if Jones is forced to go beyond is second read, the play usually breaks down. This style of play along with Jones’s physical prowess remind me far too much of Ryan Mallet. Mallet who you all may remember was the starting quarterback for Arkansas last year, who was known for relying too much on his natural abilities. Like Mallet, Jones is a slow decision maker and is only putting up fantastic numbers when he receives perfect protection. Once, his pass blocking breaks down and is forced to throw under pressure, Jones fails. In the face of pressure, Jones immediately looks to role out, and his accuracy on the run makes Jake Locker seem like a god.

While Landry Jones leaves much to be desired from a professional scout’s point of view, there is still plenty to be excited about. As I stated earlier, Jones posted phenomenal numbers as a sophomore. He has at least one, if not two, more years of college service left, and the ability for him to develop into a more pro-ready prospect is certainly there. Jones has all the physical tools, and a fantastic offensive coach in Bob Stoops, to show him the way. I firmly believe that Jones has the tools to be successful at the professional level, but we need to see professional execution at the college level. If Jones can alter his release, and learn to deal with defensive pressure more effectively, than one lucky team will have a tough time deciding between Andrew Luck and Landry Jones come next April .