Scouting Report: Jones has decent size for a defensive tackle, but ideal size to play a DE in the 3-4 defense, and in my opinion that's where his future lies. He's excellent at beating a one on one, with a quick first step, nice set of moves and excellent hands. He does lack strength at the point of attack meaning playing inside facing double teams could neutralize him. He's very good at getting penetration, shows nice down the line speed and pursuit and is a very good tackler. He wraps up well, drives through the ball carrier and secures the play. He was a very experienced and productive player while at Syracuse and considering the lack of defensive talent around him that says volumes about his play making ability. On one hand, you see Jones and you see this likable young man with a huge beaming smile, but on the field, he flips the switch and plays with a nasty demeanor and great intensity. The real downside to Jones and the thing that could hurt him most is his injury history. He's just had surgery on a torn meniscus, that will almost certainly keep him out of the Senior Bowl, and possibly even a full workout at the Scouting Combine. This isn't his first injury and they seem to be getting progressively worse.
Draft Status: As I said, where Jones will be drafted has less to do with his talent and much more to do with what the doctors say. If he checks out medically, there's no doubt he's a first round type of talent, especially to a 3-4 team, looking for a DE who can get pressure on the quarterback in the base set. But his stock could slip out of the first round, because teams don't want to commit that first round money to a player who might not be as durable as they should be.
Final Analysis: I've always felt like Jones was playing out of position in college. He did a great job on the interior for Syracuse, but he is a little light in the back end, and got pushed around at times. Moving him outside, letting him work one on one with a tackle, would really showcase his talents. He's a better run defender than his stats would indicate, because he just doesn't always get the chance, and his ability to get into the backfield on passing downs is on record. I would like to think he'll be find in the medical checks and cement a first round pick to a team like Denver or the Jets who need that big body on the outside of their defensive line. Jones is certainly not on the same level as Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh, but he's absolutely part of that next tier of defensive linemen.
Reminds me of: Darnell Dockett, DE Arizona Cardinals-Both disruptive tackles in college and Dockett has made the move to end, and is showing that he's even better when he's not seeing the double teams in the interior. Jones, if he's healthy can definitely be a productive pro. It took Dockett a couple of years to learn his position and get comfortable playing outside, but it happened, and the same could happen for Jones.
Red Flags: Injuries
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy