In many ways, a defense in the NFL is only as good as its ability to get pressure on the opposing quarterback. Whoever drafts Jarvis Jones, the redshirt junior linebacker from the Georgia Bulldogs (a transfer from USC), will be getting what appears to be one of the bigger pass-rushing threats in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jones, at 6'3 and 241 pounds, had 14.5 sacks, a whopping 24.5 tackles that went for a loss, and seven forced fumbles -- leading the nation in all three categories. He also recorded 85 total tackles and snatched two interceptions in 2012, leading him to be named to the All-SEC First Team. He's SB Nation's seventh-best overall prospect, as well as its best player at the outside linebacker position.
- Versatility. Despite his obvious penchant for sacking the quarterback, NFL.com's profile says that doesn't mean Jones can't potentially play as an inside linebacker in the pros.
- NFL.com also notes that Jones excels at beating opposing blockers to the edge, whether it be going around, under or through them, on his way to the backfield.
- CBSSports.com's Rob Rang believes Jones is a full-service linebacker, and that his coverage skills and run-stuffing ability complements his pass-rushing, which will likely demand attention from NFL defensive coordinators from the get-go. One of his signature games of the 2012 season came against Georgia's big-time rivals, the Florida Gators. In the 17-9 Bulldogs victory, Jones racked up 13 total tackles and 3.0 sacks. Draftbreakdown.com has the highlights of Jones from that day:
- A neck injury forced an early end to his freshman season with the Trojans, leading to his transfer to Georgia and redshirt season. He has since been cleared to play, but neck injuries are, of course, worth worrying about.
- NFL.com also mentions that he was only a one-year starter in college and, despite his obviously disruptive presence on the field, durability and longevity could be potential issues.
- Jones may not be big enough to play linebacker for some teams, writes NFL.com, and in terms of rushing the quarterback, he could also stand to broaden his moves to use against opposing offensive lines.
Partly due to his question marks, and partly due to his potential impact, NFL.com compares Jones to Bruce Irvin of the Seattle Seahawks, who as a rookie last season made an instant impact with one of the NFL's best defenses in 2012. Jones seems to be best fitted for a 3-4 defense in need of a pass-rusher, though his overall playmaking skills suggest he could fit into almost any system, assuming he can remain healthy in the NFL.
In his most recent mock draft on Jan. 21, SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn thinks Jones will last until the eighth overall pick, where the Buffalo Bills will try to pair him with Mario Williams on a defense in need of help:
The Bills definitely need to find a new quarterback, but Tyler Wilson comes off the board before Buffalo can snatch him. Instead, Buddy Nix addresses the linebacker position with Jarvis Jones, who could be the type of impact player this defense needs at that position.
- From SB Nation's Dan Kadar:
Kiper says big need for Det. is CB. Has Milliner going 1 pick earlier in mock. Says Jarvis Jones could be a Von Miller type for Lions.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) January 16, 2013
- From Gang Green Nation's profile of Jones, who has been projected to the Jets in some mocks:
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.
My little snack... The best!!! instagr.am/p/Ugy0x7Cj6q/— Jarvis Jones (@SacManJones_29) January 15, 2013
Sitting here trying to set up my Xbox live.. Calln all the homies in my phone so they can tell me how to do it lol— Jarvis Jones (@SacManJones_29) January 20, 2013
- Jones was a rare two-time consensus all-American, getting honors in both of his years at Georgia. He led the NCAA in sacks in 2012 with 14.5 while setting a UGA single-season record.
- Jones had played for USC in 2009, but transferred after suffering spinal stenosis in his freshman year, a condition Trojans medical staff thought could end his career, causing him to ask for a release. Here's a story about Jones' condition.
- For Jones' year-by-year stats, head over to CFB Stats.
2013 NFL Combine performance:
Jones entered the combine with questions about his health and exited the combine with questions about his health. While he participated in medicals, the results were reportedly mixed among teams and questions weren't definitively answered.
Furthermore, he declined to participate in any other drills, meaning that the trip to Indianapolis didn't accomplish much for Jones. The Georgia pro day will have an added amount of pressure for the Georgia linebacker when he goes through drills.
- Walter Football reported that scouts at the East-West Shrine Game expected Jones' stock to fall for a variety of reasons.
"Don't get me wrong, if you watch his tapes you'll say he is worth being the No. 1 rated player and going in the top five of the draft. You can watch him on Saturdays and see that this guy is an animal. He's clearly the best player on the field, but not a guy that you'll be in love with during the week. Add in the medical concern and with the testing, and I think he's going to slide some on Draft Day."