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Christian Jones (FSU)

Courtesy of 24/7 Sports

Courtesy of 24/7 Sports

Height: 6’4″
Weight: 234
40 Time:
Hand: 9 5/8″
Arms: 32 7/8″
Wingspan:

Projected Draft Position: 3rd – 4th

Christian Jones arrived at Florida State as one of the highest-regarded athletes in the nation, and the No. 2-ranked outside linebacker according to Rivals. As a true freshman in 2010, Jones saw action in all 14 games and didn’t miss a contest his entire four-year stay with the Seminoles. In his first season as a full-time starter in 2011, Jones finished second on the team in tackles. The next season, Jones was the team’s leading tackler before posting a career-best 8.0 tackles for loss as a senior last year.

Athleticism

+ Versatile, natural athlete
+ Incredible coordination
+ Great length – tall with long arms
+ Good speed
+ Good explosiveness throughout his game
+ Fluid hips, good bend
+ Plays physical – has some nasty to his game
+ Good lateral movement, with speed to get sideline to sideline
+ Good body control and agility – improvised moves
- Lean muscle, lacks bulk

Against the Run

+ Instinctive – sniffs out RB’s direction and gets his helmet there
+ Solid tackler, takes good angles and pulls down ball carrier
+ Keeps his feet and stays square to LOS
+ Effective at funneling the rush
+ Can makeup ground with his speed
+ Good awareness
+/- Better when starting with space in front of him
- Inconsistent shedding blocks
- Can struggle against physical blockers

Pass Rush

+ Very effective coming off the edge
+ Uses speed and agility to penetrate the line
+ Disciplined in pursuit of the quarterback
+ Very difficult to contain him on a speed rush
+ Has superb athleticism to create on the fly – spin, inside move, etc.
+ Effective using his long arms to disrupt QB
+ Versatile to rush with hand in the dirt, or from the middle
+ Relentless when it comes to getting after the QB
+ Good explosiveness off the LOS
+ Good acceleration (more noticeable straight-line)
- Needs to develop a reliable set of pass rush moves
- Can struggle against physical blockers (noticed in game v. Miami)

Coverage

+ Possesses the speed to cover anywhere from slot inward
+ Good awareness – understands role when covering RB, TE
+ Easily sticks with guys out of the backfield
+ Can drop into coverage and quickly shoot downhill to scrambling QB
+ Has the athleticism to make a play with the ball in the air
+ Great feet, attached to hips – can flip, move and drive
+ Natural football instincts show up in pass coverage
+ Has speed to recover and/or close
- Doesn’t possess great ball skills – room for improvement

Intangibles/Other

+ Football bloodlines – both his father and brother played at FSU
+ Extremely versatile – played in middle in ’12, more edge-rusher in ’13
+ Durable – hasn’t missed a game in four seasons
+ Can’t say enough about his athleticism
- Could afford to add strength and bulk

Final Say 

Christian Jones’ combination of athleticism, length and natural football instinct make him a very intriguing draft prospect. While we saw him used as an inside backer in 2012, Jones played a larger role as an edge-rusher as a senior last season. His versatility and demonstrated linebacker duties from a number of different spots will be attractive for prospective coaches.

That said, I like Jones in space. Although he was fun to watch coming off the edge with his hand in the dirt, I think you get the best value with him in the middle — covering TEs and RBs and stopping the run, yet still threatening as a blitzer from anywhere near the LOS.

Here we take a look at a play in Jones’ junior season in 2012 — while a more traditional weakside — against Mike Glennon and North Carolina State. The Wolfpack trail by six and they’re driving — lined up for a critical 3rd-and-long.

Christian Jones I

Jones is highlighted in red and he’ll be sticking with the inline tight end (highlighted in green) on a shallow dig route on a near-obvious passing situation.

Christian Jones IIA combination of instincts, football IQ, good footwork and speed allow for Jones to stay attached to the tight end’s hip.

Christian Jones IIIAll of those same skills — in addition to superb athleticism — come into play here where Jones is able to read the quarterback and use his long arms to get a hand on the ball and breakup what could have been a first down following the catch.

While Jones may not be a finished product, he has all the natural tools to create a solid foundation for coaching and technique at the next level. He has the potential to be a very good and versatile football player.

 

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