PROS: Shows burst off the snap and a quick first step to get penetration. Has a nice swim move and shows ability as a bull rusher. Shows a nice motor, and can make plays laterally along the line in pursuit. Able to make plays in space. Can drop back into coverage on zone blitzes, and moves fairly well for his size. Will take up his game a notch in short-yardage, firing off the ball.
CONS: Struggles against double teams, and too often gets engulfed at the point of attack. Has trouble disengaging from blockers. Spends a bit too much time on the ground. Doesn't always break down once he gets penetration and will whiff on stops against mobile quarterbacks.
OVERVIEW: You see his potential due to his strength, quickness, and athleticism, but he doesn't always play up to his ability. He started 9 games as a senior before a knee injury sidetracked him. He finished year with 19 tackles, 7 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. In two previous seasons as a starter, he combined for 30.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. His knee injury might cause him to miss some time this summer, as he also tore a pectoral muscle this off-season lifting weights.
NFL FORECAST: The injury is a concern only because it might limit his value as a rookie. But in terms of his long-term upside, Jones could be a really good player. He played the nose tackle position at Syracuse, although sometimes his style of play seems mroe adept at playing the 3-technique, which would take better advantage of his quickness. Not to mention how much he struggled against double teams, which he would see a lot more at the nose. I don't think Jones will ever be an impact pass rusher as he never got a lot of sacks while at Syracuse. But he's disruptive and will work well in a scheme that allows him to attack upfield. He has the potential to be a really good run-stopper because of his ability to press the line of scrimmage, but he's still a work in progress there. I would say his maximum upside is that of a strong, more athletic Babineaux. And because of that, I'm not sure it's going to take him the better part of three or so seasons before he starts to find his stride like Babs. But I think he's too talented not to become a good starter down the road.
ATL FORECAST: Jones fits in Atlanta because he can immediately provide depth behind Jerry at nose tackle, but also be developed to play the under tackle role. He has starter's potential and three or four years from now could be in a position to take Babineaux's job and form a solid duo with Jerry. He's athletically gifted enough that he could become the team's best defensive tackle in a few years. He may not contribute a ton as a rookie, but is definitely worth saving for years two and three where he'd be their top backup option.
VALUE: If not for the injury, he'd be a solid second round talent. The injury might drop him to a third round, but anything after that he is a steal.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.0
PASS RUSH: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.