A solid technician that knows how to use his hands to get position and leverage at the point of attack. Has decent pop off the snap, and is able to wall off the defensive tackle and create alleys up the middle. Flashes some ability as a drive blocker, with leg drive especially when working the double team with a guard. Has good hand placement to get inside and get some push, and does a nice job redirecting tackles even when he's beaten off the snap. Has a quick first step and does a nice job getting position when blocking laterally. You like his footwork both in pass protection and as a run blocker. Does a nice job setting up in pass protection and consistently initiates contact there. Able to get out on the second level as a run blocker, and does a nice job as a cut blocker to seal backside pursuit. Will deliver a nice punch to the linebacker and lock on to get the seal on the second level. Comfortable pulling or blocking in space in front of screens. Comfortable working out of the shotgun. Flashes good mean streak and consistently finishes his blocks.
Lacks the power and pop to consistently get push as a run blocker. Tends to have most of his struggles when he's covered up by a nose tackle. Gives ground to the bull rush and gets too deep at times in pass protection. Doesn't always play with great balance as a run blcoker. Doesn't have a great punch and will get beat in the phone booth too often. Needs to take better angles when blocking on the second level, and has trouble adjusting in space to lock onto moving targets. Will whiff on assignments when blocking in space.
Jones is a solid center that is fairly consistent. He uses his hands well, which is very important for the center position. While he has good size for a center, he's not the most physical or dominant player. He's a guy that tends to win by getting position and leverage than pushing guys off the ball. There are no major flaws to his game, but he just doesn't play with the power you want in an elite center. But you like his experience, toughness, and consistency.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Boise St: 1 pressure; Downfield: 1/2
(9/10) vs. South Carolina: 3 key blocks, 1 missed block; Downfield: 4/5, Pull: 1/1; Cut: 3/3; Screen: 0/1
(12/3) vs. LSU: 1 FR, 1 penalty (holding); Downfield: 2/3
2011: 14 GP/14 GS, center
2010: 13/12, center
2009: 13/13, center
2008: 13/10, center
While Jones has enough ability that he can match up against the more physical 3-4 nose tackles in the league, he's not a guy that is going to win very many of those matchups, particularly early on. He's a guy that is more of a technician than a power player, and he'll work best playing for a team in the NFC that shouldn't have to deal with the massive pluggers in the middle as much. He also has good potential as a center in a zone blocking scheme because his footwork and lateral quickness are solid solid. He's a position blocker that can be an above average to good starting center, but probably won't ever be a great starting center. If there is any blemish on Jones, it's probably the lack of upside. He hasn't quite reached his ceiling, but there isn't going to be a ton of room for growth. Instead, he should develop and become a more consistent guy. He is smart and polished enough that he can come in right away and contribute as a starter as a rookie. He won't be great, but he's used to blocking NFL-caliber defensive tackles from his days in the SEC and so it won't take a huge leap. The player he sort of reminds me of is a poor man's Jeff Saturday. Like Saturday, he won't wow you with his strength or power, but is a very good technician that can win with his smarts and leadership. And on certain teams like Indianapolis, that tend to have good QBs that value brains over brawn, he can be one of the better centers in the league. At worst, he'll be considered a solid starter along the same lines as someone like Kyle Cook. At best, he'll be considered a second-tier center that gets accolades because he anchors a good line similar to Shaun O'Hara rather than a guy that individually stands out.
Shaun O'Hara, ex-Giants.
Jones is good enough that he could push for a starting job right away. He is a better technician than Joe Hawley and has more polished hands and technique, meaning that he's probably better suited to succeed Todd McClure as the starter. The positive thing about Jones is that while he lacks the experience of playing guard, because of his sound technique and footwork he could play there in a pinch as well. He won't be great there, but as a stopgap for a couple of games, similar to Hawley he could be effective for the most part. Long-term Jones would be a solid candidate to succeed McClure, and similar should have a long, productive career as the anchor of the Falcons offensive line. He ultimately should prove to be a better pro because he's a better physical specimen than McClure, but similarly he'll be a guy that is steady because of his smarts rather than being a force in the middle.
Because the premium on centers isn't as high as it is at other positions, Jones probably is a solid third round pick. But because of his ability to provide immediate value as a starter, he would not be a reach at the end of the second round. But since he probably doesn't have a super-high ceiling, you'd get better value in Round Three.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Blocking: 7.5
Run Blocking: 7.0
Mean Streak: 7.5
Scouting Reports of the center, guards, and offensive tackles in the 2012 Draft.
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