The first round of every NFL Draft is spotted with players who break out for a season before going pro. Whether it was Nick Fairley this year or Mark Sanchez in the 2009 draft, some players need just a single season to become draft superstars. We're going to preview some break out candidates before the season starts.
6'4, 225 pounds | Wide receiver | North Carolina
Why he's poised to break out:
After being a blue chip high school recruit, Jones finally blossomed as a junior catch 62 passes for 946 yards. Fifty of Jones' catches came in UNC's final eight games, which points toward better things to come.
Jones' size is evident. Jones likes to use his strength to get open and he does so nicely. Jones also has a nice burst to create separation. Has shown that he can get open over the top vertically.
During his stellar junior season, Jones was inconsistent. Against Clemson, LSU and Georgia Tech, he combined for five receptions for 26 yards. 2010 was the first season where Jones was UNC's top receiving option, so it's understandable why he'd be inconsistent. Still, inconsistent can sometimes lead to questions about effort. That's especially true when the ball isn't coming Jones' way.
Jones has also flashed good hands, but tends to drop some passes. If Jones can hold onto the ball better, his draft stock will elevate.
Jones may always be held back by his straight-line speed. He can bely that by becoming a better route runner. He hasn't had to run advanced routes for UNC, but may need to if he faces better coverage as a senior.