ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jordan Rodgers #11 of the Vanderbilt Commodores is sacked on a 4th down play by Jarvis Jones #29 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Georgia defensive end/outside linebacker Jarvis Jones played only two years at the school after transferring from USC. He made those two years count with 28 sacks and 155 tackles in 26 games.
The first thing anyone who watches Jones will notice is his motor. He’s a relentless rusher who never gives up on a play. His style of play doesn’t seem to wear him down much, showing Jones is in excellent physical condition.
Jones is an explosive player with elite quick-twitch ability. He can consistently beat offensive tackles with a speed rush and, when they overset to compensate for his speed, Jones hits them with one of the best spin moves I’ve seen in years. He uses those two moves in conjunction with one another, and that’s really all he needs.
If there’s something to be concerned about with Jones, it might be his height. We’ll need to wait to see his arm length at the Combine, but Jones stands only 6’2’’. That’s not too short to succeed by any means, but he doesn’t possess the ideal length for an edge-rusher. You can see it hurt him at times when he lets offensive tackles get into his chest. Jones uses his quickness to run around blockers regularly, but if they get into his body, he has a difficult time getting off.
Two numbers suggest Jones won’t have a major issue with his length at the next level, though: 28 and 44. Jones recorded 28 sacks and 44 tackles for loss in just two seasons at Georgia. If he can dominate the SEC, he can play at a high level in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Justin Houston
Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston might not seem like a great comparison for Jones, but the fellow Georgia Bulldog is someone I rated in my top 10 two years ago. In his first two seasons in the NFL, Houston has 122 tackles and 15.5 sacks. Houston is the same height as Jones and was close to his weight coming out of college. Jones should be able to add some bulk to his 242-pound frame, as Houston did, and still maintain his burst.
Jones is going to be a first-round pick in April, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll get selected in the top 10. He’s quite similar to Broncos linebacker Von Miller who got selected second overall a couple years ago, but he also has a condition called spinal stenosis. The condition doesn’t seem to affect Jones’ play and it appears he’ll be fine, but teams will need to check it out prior to investing a first-rounder in Jones. He was kept off of the field because of the condition while at USC.
Fit In Dallas
Jones will probably go to a 3-4 team simply because he’s “undersized” as a 4-3 defensive end, although more and more 4-3 teams are searching for smaller rushers. Should the Cowboys be one of them? If they let Anthony Spencer walk, I think Jones would be a fine fit. Others will disagree because Jones doesn’t hold up well at the point, but the Cowboys need a much better pass-rush if they plan to get pressure without blitzing, and Jones will provide that. He almost assuredly won’t drop to No. 18, so the ‘Boys would probably need to think about moving up if Jones falls into the teens.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.