When I did my scouting for the 2013 Draft, I focused on a lot of Linebackers that I believed could be potential Jaguar targets and I fully expected the Jaguars to select a LB at some point during the draft. But I was wrong, and if you followed me on twitter during the draft you would have seen that I was wrong on almost all my other predictions as well.... Oh well. Due to the large amount of holes on the Jaguars roster the 2013 Draft was an unpredictable one to predict for the Jaguars, but I feel as if the teams holes going into the 2014 draft will be much clearer. The Jaguars didn't draft any front 7 players for the defense, so I assume that the 2014 draft will feature several selections for that department, thus my first preseason scouting report will be on FSU OLB Christian Jones.
Weight- 233 lbs
- Flows to the ball well, fights through traffic instead of running around it.
- Quick in pursuit, but inconsistent in taking proper angles.
- Wraps up well, but does not always keep his feet moving under him. Needs to keep feet moving to generate more force, has a tendency to give up and extra yard or two because he doesn't not drag down ball carriers right away.
- Solid instincts, read and reaction skills. Consistently puts himself in the right positions.
- Aggressive and physical when taking on blockers, but inconsistent with his had usage when shedding blocks.
- Not creating a whole lot of separation when taking on blockers.
- Needs to play a bit more controlled.
- Terrific tackling range, always around the football.
- Breaks down and wraps up well in space.
- Tackles a bit high. Needs to generate more power from lower body
- Keeps his outside shoulder free, able to pinch down and set the edge.
- Defends and reacts to option plays extremely well.
- Fluid mover in coverage, able to flip hips and run with Slot WR's and TE's. Has the size/speed for it.
- Good instincts in zone coverage, needs to be more aware in man to man.
- Picks up all of his assignments, blankets receivers coming out of the backfield in the flats.
- Anticipates the snap well when blitzing, but no rush moves.
- Terrific all around, explosive athlete.
- Has a very large tackling range due to his fantastic speed.
- Fast enough to run with WR's/TE's in coverage.
- Fluid in space, always keeps his feet moving (except sometimes when tackling...) and has the fluid hips and foot quickness to change direction with ease.
- Quick in pursuit, especially from the backside.
- Good closing speed.
OVERALL/WHY I THINK HE COULD BE A POTENTIAL JAGUAR TARGET
Christian Jones has the athletic ability and instincts to be able to thrive in space as a 4-3 Weakside LB (WILL) But has the edge setting ability and natural pass coverage skills to be able to match up with the slot WR's and Joker TE's of todays NFL that he is able to play the Strong side LB (SAM) as well. Conviently, the Jaguars will likely have holes at both of those postitions going into the 2014 draft.
The OLB's that are predicted to see some reps on the Jags defense this year are Russel Allen, Geno Hayes, Julian Stanford, and LaRoy Reynolds. Allen and Hayes are average players who are not awful, but are more stop gaps than anything else. Solid depth, but upgradable. Standford is a 2nd year UDFA who saw limited snaps last year, but is impressing in OTA's so far. LaRoy Reynolds is another UDFA impressing. They will certainly be given their chance to make an impact and fight for their spot with the future of the team, but as of right now they have not shown enough to inspire a whole lot of confidence. I am not condemning any of these players, but this is just some early thoughts. Nothing set in stone, of course.
Jones has the potential to be a special player in my opinion, and with his athletic ability he would thrive in this scheme as the front 4 would enable him to pin his ears back and play freely in space. With solid TE's in the divison such as Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, and Owen Daniels, an OLB capable of matching up swith them is essential, and Jones has the ability do so.
The holes at OLB, Jones great fit for the defense, and his pass coverage ability are 3 big reasons why I think he could be a potential Jaguar target.