Scouting the 2013 NFL Draft: OLB Jarvis Jones

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Let's investigate the the University of Georgia's stud outside linebacker, Jarvis Jones

Introduction:

Jarvis Jones is an outside linebacker for the Georgia Bulldawgs. He is originally from Richland, Georgia, and played for one year at the University of Southern California before transferring to the University of Georgia. We will discuss the reasons for his transfer later in this article. He is a Consensus First-Team All-American, First-Team All-SEC, and was the SEC Player of the Year. Jones is a dynamic pass rusher but can stop the run as well. He has been compared favorably mostly to Von Miller, but also Terrell Suggs.

Measurables:

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 242 lbs.

Position: 3-4 outside linebacker

School: University of Georgia

Grade: Redshirt Junior

Statistics:

Year School GP–GS Tackles Sacks Pass Defense Fumbles Blocked
Solo Ast Total Loss No Int–Yards BU PD QBH Rcv–Yards FF Kick
2009 USC 8–0 5 8 13 1.5 0 0–0 0 0 0 0–0 0 0
2010 Georgia RS - - - - - - - - - - - -
2011 Georgia 13–13 39 31 70 19.5 13.5 0–0 - 4 - 0–0 2 0
2012 Georgia 13–13 52 33 85 24.5 14.5 1–21 - 4 - 0–0 7 0

Using a measuring statistic known as the Production Ratio (SACKS + TACKLES FOR LOSS/NUMBER OF GAMES PLAYED = PRODUCTION RATIO), we can determine how productive Jones was in making plays behind the line of scrimmage. A ratio above one (1) is extremely good. In this case, Williams scores a 2.77 in his two years at Georgia, and a 2.16 in his four total years, which is incredible and completely off the charts. I've honestly never seen a score that high.

Positives

Jones is, in my opinion, the best pass rusher in the class. He's explosive, especially in his first step, and has fantastic bend around the edge. He has numerous moves to get to the quarterback; he's not a one-trick pony. By many accounts, he has the potential to be an elite pass rusher in the NFL. Jones is also a sound tackler and a very good run defender. Because of his speed, he is very capable of making plays in the backfield, and has the play-recognition ability to match it. Jones can rush the passer or stop the run at an elite level for an OLB.

Negatives:

Jones is a 3-4 OLB and can't put his hand in the dirt, so he loses some versatility. He also isn't very good in coverage, largely because he doesn't have much experience with it. He was rarely asked to drop into coverage in college, so he will likely not be able to cover anyone man-on-man.

Jones' biggest negative is his medical status. He has a condition known as "spinal stenosis." This is the same condition that forced Cooper Manning (Eli and Peyton Manning's brother) to retire from football, in addition to Marcus McNeill and Michael Irvin. I've consulted with a doctor regarding spinal stenosis, and although he hasn't inspected Jones' personally, he gave me some insight into the disorder, generally. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column where the nerves come through it at the bottom. It is a degenerative disease, so it could get worse progressively and he may never have a problem during his playing career, or it could degenerate quickly and force him to retire at a young age. With stenosis, Jones is more at-risk for paralysis than other players, especially because he plays such a physical position. In fact, USC refused to clear him to play, which is why he transferred to UGA. Jones' medical status is such a huge concern that he will likely rapidly tumble down the draft board once teams see his medical information come the NFL Combine.

Conclusion:

Jones is arguably the top defensive player in the 2013 NFL Draft. He is a dynamic pass rusher has all the qualities to become an elite outside linebacker. However, his medical condition is such a massive risk, not only for his life, but also to the team willing to invest millions of dollars in him. I suspect that he will drop down the draft much like Da'Quan Bowers did, although I predict he'll go in the middle-to-late first round instead of the second. The team that takes Jones and pays him millions will be taking a huge gamble, and unfortunately, the New York Jets are not in a position to take that risk. If this team was on the cusp of the Super Bowl, then it would be a risk worth taking. But there's no way of knowing if he'll be out of the league in a year or ten, so I'm not comfortable taking that risk unless the Jets were able to trade back into the late first. As far as talent is concerned, Jones is a top-three pick, in my opinion. However, his medical concerns won't let me rate him past the middle-to-late first round.

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