Chad Jones – LSU
Scout: David Syvertsen
Pro Potential: Brian Dawkins – Denver Broncos
Agility/Hips: Does not turn and go with fluidity, but his hips are quick enough in coverage. Needs to take an extra step or two to re-gain his balance when turning .
Ball Skills: Has just 5 interceptions in 3 years with 15 pass breakups. Does not time his leaps well with the ball in the air. Attacks the ball when trying to deflect it rather than swiping his hand vertically. Can position his body well so that he is in better position to make a play on the ball than the receiver.
Body Control: Very good balance that carries maximum power before he pounces to make a tackle. Can stay low and strong through traffic. Does not fall over his own feet when moving in deep coverage.
Instincts/Recognition: Very quick thinker on the field that diagnoses run and explodes downhill. Makes sound decisions on the field and forces the opponent to react to him, not the other way around.
Pass Coverage: Has a lot of experience in the centerfield role, being responsible for a lot of ground in deep coverage. Does not show a tremendous amount of range, often a step or two late to the sideline. Can man up a receiver and use his length to cover up throwing lanes.
Pursuit: Pursues the ball carrier like a linebacker. Takes proper angles and leaves himself in position to make a big hit. Plays downhill with aggression, anger, and explosion. Can close a wide gap in a blink.
Run Support: Usually plays in a single high role, but he showed the ability to fly in to the box and stuff a running back before he breaks free through the second level. Has experience starting in the box as a fourth linebacker.
Speed: Plays faster than he times because of his initial quickness and explosion. However when put deep downfield, his lack of top end/catch up speed can be exposed by a speed receiver.
Tackling: Sure tackler that consistently makes the attempt to wrap up at or below the ball carrier’s waist. Sends a jolt to the ball carrier and often knocks him backward. Has made some of the hardest hits in college football over the past year, a big time force over the middle.
Final Word: After starting for LSU’s talented defense for two seasons, Chad Jones opted to forego his senior season and enter the draft a year early. With the physical package he brings to the table and his experience in the speedy SEC conference, Jones could be a pre-draft riser all the way in to the top 20 picks of the first round. Also a pitcher for the Tigers baseball team, the two-sport star has the kind of physicality that makes a huge difference over the middle with just his mere presence. His ability to tackle in the open field has become a lost art in the NFL, and every team is always looking for defensive backs that can be relied upon as a last line of defense. While his coverage abilities are up and down, the potential is there for Jones to be one of the best safeties in the game. With baseball and school out of the picture, Jones will be able to focus solely on his game which has never been the case. High ceiling prospect here that has the capability of being an immediate starter and Pro-Bowl defensive back.