Comfortable playing with his hand off the ground. Has a good first step and flashes speed off the edge to turn the corner. Has nice closing burst to finish the play when he gets around the blocker. Shows decent speed and range and can make plays in space and pursuit near the line of scrimmage.
Lacks size and will get pushed around by NFL offensive linemen. Tends to rely on his speed rush and first step to be effective, and doesn't do a good job disengaging. Can get caught out of position against the zone read and lose outside contain. Can be late reacting to the snap.
Jones flashes the speed and potential as a pass rusher, but isn't the more cerebral player and lacks awareness. Jones came to Texas as a top recruit, but spent three years as a backup to guys like Orakpo, Acho, Kindle, and never really emerged as a starter until his senior year. He tallied 52 tackles, 10 for loss, and 6 sacks that year. Other three years as a reserve and situational guy, he had a combined 59 tackles, 14 for loss, and 7.5 sacks. Also had 2 INTs, 39 pressures, and 1 defensive TD during his career.
Jones has the tools that you're looking for in a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. But he's still pretty raw and I don't like the fact that he didn't really shine until his senior year. But he has the first step and speed to think that with development, he can get better and potentially impact. He needs to improve his awareness, and I didn't really see him drop in coverage. But if he was to develop in a scheme where he would be used primarily as a pass rusher or run defender, and not be forced to play too much in space, then I'm not sure it would be a major obstacle. THe main thing with him is that he's not good enough to impact early, so he'll have to produce on special teams early on. He should be able to stick there because he played that quite a bit during his first three years at Texas. If he can get two or three years on the bench and develop in coverage, then he has a chance of sticking long-term and challenge down the road as a starter. Otherwise, he's going to be a guy that his NFL value is only going to go as far as his special teams prowess carries him. If he develops, he'll be more of a stopgap guy that can give you 4-6 sacks like a Tully Banta-Cain.
Jones just doesn't really have the size or potential you really like in a 4-3 rush end. If he was to bulk up, he has enough speed and burst to have a shot. But I think he would get pushed around far too much and is much more suited to impacting more quickly in a 3-4 scheme. The best you can hope for with him is he can develop down the road into a decent rotational situational pass rusher. But he wouldn't be more than a practice squad guy early in Atlanta, and would probably need two years there before he can be expected to really merit significant reps. He's simply not a better prospect than Sidbury, who already has two years head start on him with his development.
For a 3-4 team looking for a developmental depth guy, he can be worth a sixth or seventh round pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 3.5
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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