A Flaw in the Armor


Nov 3, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jarvis Jones (29) in the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Sanford Stadium. Georgia won 37-10. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

I’ve often caught myself marveling at the talent of Jarvis Jones this season. Jones has been excellent in every facet of the game and is one of the most athletic defensive prospects in the country. However, like everything in life, if you think something is too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t get me wrong, Jones’ game is top-5 pick worthy. He could come in and have a Von Miller-like effect on an NFL defense- bringing pass rushing terror and athleticism around the edge. He is a good kid who has overcome a lot of difficulty in his life on and off of the field.

When Jones was at USC he was told that due to spinal Spinal Stenosis, his career may be severely limited going forward. Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column and cause various nerve and muscle functioning issues going forward. Taking the beating that football provides can only make it worse.

Spinal Stenosis has been seen in the NFL before. Marcus McNeil recently retired due to battling back problems recently in his career. Chris Samuels was able to play at a high level for most of his career before finally retiring. Rumors abounded in the 2010 draft that Rob Gronkowski also suffered from the disorder.

This type of disorder could certainly shorten the career of an NFL player and may force some teams who focus on injury concerns to remove Jones from their big board. Jones likely won’t fall too far, but it isn’t necessarily a guarantee that he will go as high as his talent justifies.

I would be concerned if I was drafting in the top 5 and looking at Jarvis Jones. However, I also recognize the value of a player like Jones

The stat is always floated around and I’ve never heard the statistically correct number specifically, but the average NFL career is something around three years long. If you are a team that needs defensive help and picking in the top five, you are probably being run by a GM/coach that could lose his job if improvement doesn’t come. In that case, it is hard to turn down this kind of talent.

Jones isn’t overly old either. He is currently 23 years old and will turn 24 during October of his rookie year. That is above the average rookie age of 22, but he isn’t Brandon Weeden.

He also isn’t Da’Quan Bowers, with the chronic knee injuries. However, Spinal Stenosis is just as serious and has life-long consequences if it gets worse.

Jones looks too good to be true on the field, hopefully he is allowed to showcase that awesome ability in the NFL and stay healthy for his post-football life.