Meet Jarvis Jones, former OLB for the Georgia Bulldogs. He started his career at USC, but transferred to Georgia after the 2009 season. During his shortened stay at Georgia, he earned All-SEC and All-American honors in 2011 and 2012. His listed size is between 6’2″ and 6’3,” and he weights about 241 lbs.
-Video by Aaron Aloysius
Over the past two years, Jones amassed 155 tackles and 28 sacks, and this season he earned the highest pass rusher rating (PRR) among all defensive linemen in this year’s class. His resume includes quality performances against top ranked opponents Florida, South Carolina, and eventual BCS champion Alabama.
- Mel Kiper-#1 OLB, #1 overall
- Mike Mayock, NFL Network-#2 OLB, N/A overall
- ESPN/Scouts Inc.-#1 OLB, #14 overall
- CBSSports/NFLDraftScout.com-#1 OLB, #8 overall
Mel Kiper, from his Big Board:
Jones can solidify a very good reputation among evaluators in Indy. His tape is superb. His performance and positional value reflect this ranking, because he combines explosiveness, discipline, relentless pass-rushing ability and great intangibles and effort. He profiles as a 3-4 OLB, but he’s also strong against the run and can really cover.
Rare among elite pass rushers is this ability to fluidly drop into space and run with athletic receivers.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout on Jarvis Jones’ strengths:
Elite play-maker off the edge. Possesses an explosive burst to complement very good timing to consistently cross the face of offensive tackles and get them backpedaling. Has enough flexibility to dip under their reach and close on the quarterback, demonstrating strong hands and an eye for ripping the ball free for the sack and forced fumble. Stronger than he looks and has an effective bull-rush. Also uses this strength to be surprisingly effective in setting the edge despite routinely giving up 70-plus pounds to opponents. Locates the ball quickly and pursues with passion. Athletic enough to drop back into coverage.
One factor that Rang brings up is the effective use of a change up in his pass rush repertoire. Whenever a player has explosive quickness, they can dominate when they can mix in power moves to catch blockers off guard.
On a separate note,Rang mentions the risk associated with Jones’ spinal stenosis condition among his areas of concern. I did a bit of poking around to find out about this condition, and it really sounds like the Combine medical check will be key in his evaluation since there are varying degrees of how much it affects a person. God bless him, other than that I see very few flaws in his game.
Mike Mayock on Jones, via DetroitLions.com:
“Now that’s a good football player,” Mayock said of Jones. “Jarvis Jones is an impact player and an explosive player and is ready to play now as an outside linebacker in a 4-3. He’s a guy that makes a lot of sense for Detroit.”
Highlighted by these descriptions is the explosiveness in pass rush mode, but also they note his coverage ability as a prime reason he he would fit into the 4-3 scheme, despite playing in the 3-4 at Georgia. In my own research on Jones, I can corroborate this explosive ability on the edge. In games against Florida and Missouri, he absolutely terrorized the edge, blasting around linemen and pressuring the quarterback, forcing turnovers at key moments in the game, and even taking an INT back for a touchdown.
Potentially Interested Teams
From a football performance standpoint, I think that Jarvis Jones is the top prospect in the draft at this point. His outstanding production, versatility, and motivation are key factors that would make me want to draft him if I had the chance. Once the Scouting Combine comes around, there should be a much better feel for whether he will be a top 5 pick or a top 15 pick.