The Jacksonville Jaguars have the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, which means for the most part their options are wide open as far as who they should pick. Today we're going to look at Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.
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The Jaguars defensive scheme is still up in the air with a possibility of switching to a 3-4 base defense during their rebuilding process. Even beyond that, the biggest area of need on the Jaguars defense is the need for a premier pass rusher. If the Jaguars do in fact make a move to a 3-4, Jarvis Jones is a player that could be interesting for the team to focus on.
Jones has solid size for a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he does have some major concerns. The first big red flag is the spinal stenosis he has, which caused Southern Cal to not medically clear him to play which led to his transfer to Georgia. The big problem with the stenosis is that it can cut a player's career short, which could scare teams off Jones early in the draft. His situation can be compared to former San Diego Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeill, who slid in the draft and had his career end after just six seasons in the NFL.
Outside of the medical red flags, which are a huge deal, there is a lot to like about Jones' game but a lot he can work on as well. The other big sticking point for Jones is that he's likely a 3-4 outside linebacker only. He doesn't quite have the ability to play the Sam backer spot on a 4-3 defense and may not hold up as a right end with his hand on the ground.
Now, to some of the good stuff.
We'll be looking at some clips from Jones in the SEC Championship game where he's matched up with left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio or right tackle D.J. Fluker, both of which are likely to be high picks in the NFL Draft when they come out of school.
The first play we're going to look at Jones lines up as the outside backer over the right tackle and simply just rushes the passer. On the play, Jones gets the initial punch of Fluker but is able to use his hands to get free and continue around the edge. Fluker forces Jones wide, but Jones is still able to bend and get around the edge. If Fluker doesn't grab Jones' facemask he might drill the unsuspecting A.J. McCarron.
The next play is on the same drive, but after Jones has started to get past Fluker consistently and causes Alabama to put a running back on that side for extra help. Jones is lined up wide over the tight end and because of his burst off the snap, he causes Fluker to dive and miss on the play, gets through the running back and because McCarron holds to football causes the turnover. Jones' rush off the snap and his relentlessness on the play is what made it happen. McCarron's indecisiveness helped as well.
The biggest issue for Jones at the next level is going to be against the run. As you can see on this play, Kouandjio gets into Jones and just pushes him down the field eliminating him from the play entirely. Jones is going to have to get stronger in the NFL to be able to play the run, else he's just going to be a one trick pony. At times Jones can get single blocked by stronger tight ends and seems to just rely on his edge rush to get by, which will work at the college level.
Jones looks comfortable in zone coverage when asked to do so and has phenomenal closing speed, but strength will be his biggest issue and holding up against the run at the next level. Outside of his medical concerns, he's a very good pass rushing prospect for a 3-4 team and is a guy who's quite often mocked to the Jaguars. His best fit is likely as a 3-4 strong side linebacker to compliment the pass rush or even as a 3-4 inside linebacker, similar to Lawrence Timmons.