From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Arizona State CB Jack Jones.
#0 Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State — 5106, 171 lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Jack Jones||5106/171||8 7/8″||30 3/4″||74″|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
*Pro Day numbers
— Elite ball skills, consistently able to locate and play the football when in phase
— Does a good job using down/distance to give him the ability to clue and jump routes
— Does well staying in phase with receivers downfield in extended play situations, extremely disciplined player in coverage
— In game speed looks much faster on tape than his testing numbers would suggest
— Triggers quickly while defending run and screen game
— Willing and capable tackler, has solid hit power for a player of his stature
— Good feet to match off the line and stay connected to the upfield shoulder in press coverage
— Solid physicality in press coverage to flatten routes and disrupt releases
— Does a good job of using legal physicality downfield to interfere with opposing receivers ability to hit their landmarks on time
— Plays with solid patience in both press and off coverage, keeping himself in phase to contest intermediate routes
— Solid sink and drive motion, comes out of break with no wasted steps and quickly covers ground downhill
— Possesses solid, if not elite hips, helping him break downhill out of a crossover run in both zone and press man coverage
— Saw increased work in the slot as his career progressed, enters the NFL with inside/outside versatility
— Has a great feel for when to use the speed turn to get himself back in phase when turned around, quickly re locates and closes to the near hip
— Does a great job of providing physical re-routes to help his safety’s in Cover 2
— Does not possess ideal size or athleticism to transition to the NFL level
— Tries to undercut crossers sometimes, putting himself into a trailing position and allowing the receiver room for YAC
— Can get a little grabby downfield at times, these reps will draw flags at the NFL level
— Teams may worry about character concerns after a felony burglary charge after leaving USC
— Will occasionally bucket step in his break, preventing him from taking a direct angle to the ball
— Lacks the desired functional strength to play at the next level, hurts him at times as a tackler, despite his consistent effort and physicality in that department
— Eye discipline could stand to improve, will get caught with eyes in the backfield at times coming out of his breaks
— 92 tackles 2.5 TFLs 1 sack 4 FFs 6 INTs 26 PDs 1 Blk 1 TD
— 2021: 42 tackles 2.5 TFLs 1 sack 3 INTs 9 PDs 1 Blk 1 TD
— 2019/2021 All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention(only played one game in 2020 before suffering a season ending injury)
— Played in 25 games at Arizona State, starting in 24
— First enrolled at USC in 2016 as a freshman, before starting at cornerback in all 14 games as a sophomore in 2017
— 2017: 40 tackles 1 FF 1 FR 1 Blk 4 INTs 12 PDs
— Attended JUCO Moorpark College after leaving USC following both academic and legal troubles
— Previously wore #21 before switching to #0 for his graduate senior season
— Will turn 25 in December of his rookie season
While covering the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas earlier this offseason, I chose to focus my attention on the defensive back groups of both squads. Naturally, a pair of Arizona State cornerbacks, Chase Lucas and Jack Jones, were easy to connect as potential targets for Pittsburgh given Mike Tomlin’s connections to the Sun Devils coaching staff in Marvin Lewis and Herm Edwards. In my interview with Chase Lucas, he referenced similarities between the Steelers defensive scheme under former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and the Sun Devils scheme since he had been there, particularly in their zone blitzes and trap coverages.
Before going down with and injury which would sideline him for the rest of the practice week and the Thursday night game, Jack Jones caught my eye with his effortless movement skills in defensive back drills, along with his combination of patience and physicality at the line of scrimmage in press coverage in the first WR/DB 1v1 session. After resurrecting his career at Arizona State, Jack Jones once again showcased his knack for creating turnovers, forcing four fumbles, breaking up 20 passes, and collecting six picks, one of which he returned for a score. Jones is an extremely versatile prospect exiting college, with the ability to effectively guard receivers from both press and off man coverage, along with an above average ability to utilize down and distance, receivers splits, and their tempo off the ball to key and jump routes based on film study.
Jack Jones’ patient feet, physicality, and quick hips helped make him an extremely effective press coverage defender at the collegiate level. With elite ball skills and an innate knack for creating timely turnovers, targeting Jones often proved risky even when he was unable to maintain vision on the quarterback.
On the rep below, aligned in press coverage to the field with the receiver aligned outside the numbers, Jones plays with inside leverage, forcing an outside release with his alignment before opening and squeezing the receiver into the sideline with a strong off hand jam. At the sticks, Jones fights through a “throw by” by the receiver, flipping his hips quickly and efficiently to break downhill and undercut the comeback route, securing an impressive interception in the process.
Off man coverage is a dying art at all levels of football, as the talent at the receiver position makes it extremely hard for cornerbacks to stay in phase and contest the catch point without perfect technique. That being said, throughout his career with the Sun Devils, Jones has shown great patience and a smooth pedal to keep himself in phase, as well as a smooth sink and drive motion out of his breaks to close space and contest the catch point on shallow and intermediate routes.
Below, aligned in off man coverage at eight yards depth with inside leverage, Jones weaves inside at the snap to match the receivers inside stem before planting, driving, and undercutting the five step slant for an impressive pass breakup on the RPO. Jones ability to weave inside to protect his leverage and stay patient in his pedal, not giving ground as his cushion was never threatened, ultimately allow him to stay in phase and undercut the slant at the catch point.
Already a high level defender in off coverage, when third down arrived, Jack Jones played the sticks as well as any defensive back in college football. Below, aligned in off man coverage in the boundary, playing out of a square stance with his heels planted at the sticks with inside leverage, Jones takes three short read steps before flying out of his break to jump the slant route and nearly secure an interception.
Plays like this show Jones high football IQ and understanding of situational football, as well as opposing offenses and their possession down tendencies. Even with inside leverage, jumping a slant route from off coverage is one of the most difficult plays a defensive back can make, as it takes near perfect patience, a lightning quick break, and a perfect angle to cut off the receivers path, making this rep extremely impressive from Jack Jones.
Jack Jones hips, route recognition, and ability to break out of a crossover run make him an extremely effective defender in zone coverage assignments, predominantly as a flat defender in Cover 2 and a deep ⅓ defender in Cover 3 in his time with the Sun Devils. Below, aligned at eight yards depth to the top of the screen, Jones assumes outside leverage in his assignment as the deep ⅓ defender in a Cover 3 scheme.
At the snap, Jones gives ground in his pedal before opening into a crossover run with eyes on the #1 receiver, breaking toward the seam as the receiver fakes an inside move on the post/corner route. As the receiver breaks toward the pylon, Jones weaves in his crossover run to stay on top and protect outside leverage before speed turning to locate the football, cutting the receiver off at the catch point, and getting his right hand across to high point the football for a pass breakup.
As a tackler, despite being one of the smallest starting cornerbacks at the FBS level, weighing in barely over 170 pounds, Jones has proven to be fearless and physical as a tackler, triggering quickly and sacrificing his body to make some impressive sticks both in the run and screen game. Working as the flat defender in a Cover 2 scheme below, Jones aligns square to the line of scrimmage at five yards depth, before stepping up to reroute the receiver, identifying the stalk block, and triggering inside immediately to stack the blocker.
Once in the backfield, Jones closes on the swing screen, breaking down and shooting low for a nice form tackle, limiting the catch to a minimal gain. While he often is forced to absorb contact from ball carriers at the point of contact due to his slight frame, Jones’ fearless approach and proper technique make him a solidly effective tackler.
On this next rep, from a 2019 matchup against Arizona, arguably the best game of his collegiate career, Jones aligns at seven yards depth, serving as the deep ⅓ defender in a Cover 3 match scheme. At the snap, Jones aligns square to the line of scrimmage before peddling to gain depth and settling just past the sticks to eye the quarterback.
As the quarterback declares his shoulders and throws the hitch, Jones triggers downfield immediately, arriving at the catch point to shoot low, wrap up, and get the receiver to the ground well short of the sticks, allowing no opportunity for yards after the catch. Once again, Jones ability to trigger quickly, close space on the ball carrier, and engage at the point of contact with proper technique made him an extremely effective tackler at the collegiate level.
Jack Jones’ quick hipped transitions allow him to stay square from a top shoulder position and disrupt receivers downfield with his positioning, eliminating their ability to work up the sideline on fade routes. Below, aligned at seven yards depth with outside leverage, working out of off man coverage as part of a Cover 1 scheme, Jones weaves to inside leverage at the snap before opening into a crossover run and cutting off the receivers path toward the sideline.
After cutting off the receivers’ path, Jones gets hands on before flipping his hips 180 degrees in the opposite direction, opening into a crossover run to track the fade route, and tracking it down to secure the uncontested interception. With his ability to both cut off the receivers path inside with his initial weave and cut the receiver off in his path toward the sideline downfield, Jones gets the Arizona receiver to give up on the route, helping create an easy interception with textbook off man coverage.
Beyond some inconsistencies in the eye discipline department, as well as a tendency to hesitate out of his breaks from time to time, the major issue in Jones’ game as he transitions to the next level revolves around his clear lack of functional strength. In the tackling department, Jones plays with great physicality and technique, but will consistently allow larger framed ball carriers to fall forward for extra yardage. In the block shedding department, Jones is able to win at times through triggering quickly and beating blockers to the spot, but can struggle to disengage from larger framed receivers once they are able to get into his frame.
Below, aligned in off coverage to the field, Jones pedals to give ground before identifying the stalk block and triggering downhill to engage the blocker with outside leverage. Once engaged, the larger framed receiver is able to extend into Jones body and drive him downfield five yards before finishing with the pancake. Jones will undoubtedly need to work on filling out his frame and working with an NFL strength coach before embarking on his rookie campaign next fall.
Overall, Jack Jones is an extremely fluid athlete with great change of direction ability, combined with advanced football IQ and understanding of the game, making him extremely effective in press and off man coverage, as well as various zone coverage assignments. Jones also enters the NFL with a knack for creating turnover, an extremely valuable asset in the modern NFL where offense’s are scoring and moving the ball at higher rates than ever before.
Jones is also at his best when able to gauge the sticks on third down, along with the versatility to play both in the slot and on the boundary, giving him a solid chance to compete for sub package snaps early in his career. In his ability to compete in both press and off coverage despite lacking size, as well as his fearless approach to tackling, Jones reminds me of a young Jason Verrett. Both players were able to rely on their freakish change of direction ability and fluid hips to disrupt receivers in press coverage despite lacking the ideal arm length to get into receivers bodies, allowing them to function as boundary cornerbacks.
If selected by Pittsburgh, Jones could immediately seek work on special teams, while also competing with Tre Norwood for a role in the teams Dime package, which is primarily utilized in third and medium to long situations. As he progresses, Jones could eventually reach his top end ceiling of being a boundary starter in base packages, capable of providing some slot versatility in sub package or matchup dependent situations. Regardless of where he lands in April, I am extremely high on Jack Jones, and could see him developing into a versatile and impactful player at the next level, making him a potentially great value pick somewhere on Day 3.
Projection: Mid to Late Day 3
Depot Draft Grade: 7.8 CHAR – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: vs Southern Utah(2021), at Utah(2019), vs Oregon(2019), vs Arizona(2019)