Jarvis Jones finally put his skills on display for NFL scouts Thursday at Georgia's pro day workout in Athens. While Jones seemed pleased with his performance, those watching didn't exactly feel as strongly about his numbers.
Jones stumbled during his first run in the 40-yard dash, and some reporters believed he tweaked his hamstring in the process. He kept going, though, posting a 4.85 in his second attempt, according to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Towers also noted Jones fell again during the linebackers' pass skeleton drill. NFL Network's Mike Mayock was critical of Jones' day after personally clocking the linebacker in the 4.9 range during his 40. Mayock said the time was a "red flag," saying other coaches and scouts thought he was slower than expected.
Manti Te'o ran a 4.82 40 in Indianapolis and, as Mayock pointed out, the media openly chastised the Notre Dame prospect for his speed. Jones is in the same boat with his numbers now.
Of course, 40 times are overly scrutinized. What else did Jones accomplish? He posted 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench and had a 9'3 broad jump, a mark that would have tied for last among his position at the NFL Combine. One scout went as far as calling it a "terrible workout" for Jones.
Despite what was said, Jones was content. "I felt like I had a great day at the end of the day," he said afterwards, according to ESPN. "I did what I had to do." Representatives from every NFL team were in attendance to watch Jones and his teammates take the field. It's safe to say speculation on where he will be drafted will only escalate from here.
Jones is confident about his draft potential. "At the end of the day, I think I'm the number one player," he told Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter. He's confident his All-American campaigns in college will be enough evidence to make him a top pick come April. Scouts have the tape of him recording 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss in 2012. His tape against SEC defenses can outweigh 40 times.
Mayock also said, "I think the jury's out," when asked if Jones is a top-10 pick. His medical history also negatively affects his stock. Reports of the narrowing of his spine at the Combine seemed to drop him down draft boards. Doctors have said he should see a healthy career, however.
Where does the pro day workout leave Jones? While he may not set for a top-five selection now, someone will take a chance on Jones before it gets too late in the first round. With his ability to play in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, every team will be looking at him on draft day. If he's sliding in Round 1, you have to expect a team with a huge need in pass rushing takes a chance, if you want to call it that.
Matthew Fairburn of Mocking the Draft currently sees Jones going to the Jets at No. 9 overall. Rush linebackers are highly coveted, especially when they lead the nation in sacks, and especially when they lead the nation in sacks playing in the SEC. If Jones does make it out of the top 10, don't expect him to fall much farther.
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