From now until the 2023 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 Texas A&M CB Jaylon Jones.
#17 Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M (Junior) – 6020, 205lb
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Jaylon Jones||6’2, 205lb||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has good size and length for the position
— Well-built frame with ideal bulk and muscle for the outside
— Fluid mover for his size, able to turn and run with receivers up the seam
— Can match receivers well coming out of their breaks, staying sticky in coverage
— Allows minimal separation in man coverage
— Plays through the receiver’s hands at the catch point, getting position to deflect the pass
— Length aids in ability to reach over receiver and contest passes
— Physical defender when it comes to press man coverage as at the catch point
— Body type and athleticism makes him an ideal matchup for bigger perimeter receivers in the red zone
— Will come up and hit potential targets in attempt to force the incompletion
— Willing tackler in run support that can fight off blocks on the outside
— Aggressive when he has the opportunity for a bit hit
— Three-year starter in the SEC that will be a 21-year-old rookie
— Has experience playing in the slot as well as primarily on the boundary
— Lacks pure long speed and appears a little stiff in some of his movements
— Can lose a step against speedsters that challenge him vertically if he isn’t careful
— Not the quickest athlete when it comes to changing directions
— Can click and close quicker on underneath throws when in zone or off-man coverage
— Can get lost at times locating the football when it’s in the air
— Likes to lock onto the QB’s eyes, leading him vulnerable to misdirection
— Needs to get his head around more often when the ball arrives
— Can get grabby if he doesn’t jam the receiver early in the route, leading to PI calls
— Will dunk his head and lunge forward as a tackler
— Has minimal ball production in three years as a starter
— Junior Prospect from Cibolo, TX
— Born April 3, 2002 (age 20)
— Under Armour All-American, 4-star recruit, and top ten player in the state of Texas
— Played WR and DB in high school, being named District Defensive MVP as a senior
— Started all 10 games as a true freshman at Texas A&M in 2020 and finished with 30 tackles (22 solo), one TFL, six PBUs, and one INT
— Started all 12 games in 2021 and recorded 35 tackles (23 solo), a TFL, six PBUs, and two interceptions
— Started all ten games he played in 2022, notching 33 tackles (27 solo), two PBUs, and a fumble recovery
— Missed time in 2022 with a concussion
Jaylon Jones decided to stay in the Lone Star state after high school, committing to the Aggies of Texas A&M as one of the top recruits in the state. Jones got onto the field immediately as a true freshman, going on to start 32 contests for Texas A&M before foregoing his senior season to enter the 2023 NFL Draft.
When you watch Jones, you see a long, physical corner that can play either in press-man coverage or in off coverage where he can play with the ball in front of him and use his size and length to impact passing lanes. Standing 6’2, 205lb with long arms, Jaylon Jones was a PBU machine in college, actively getting his body into position to defend the pass while sticking his arms into the catch point. Watch this three-play sequence against Missouri where we see Jones do a great job contesting catches from a variety of different angles on the field.
While Jones has the size and length to play as a bump-and-run press corner, he also does well with the ball in front of him in zone coverage, taking away the boundary on one side of the field. Watch Jones draw the task of covering WR Treylon Burks who went in the first round last year, being mindful of the sideline and managing to make sure Burks doesn’t get a foot in-bounds as he catches the desperation heave from the QB, resulting in an incomplete pass.
Here is another example of Jones operating well in off-coverage against Miami, breaking on the ball right as the QB turns to throw the pass to his intended target. Jones meets the ball at the receiver’s hands and knocks the ball out, forcing the incomplete pass near the red zone.
Despite being a bigger corner with some stiffness, Jaylon Jones does a good job staying sticky in coverage and blanketing receivers throughout the route. Watch this play Jones makes against Auburn where the defender drops his hips and quickly breaks with the pass catcher coming back to the football, being in perfect position the deflect the pass along the sideline.
Jones also has the speed to carry receivers vertically up the seam like you can see on this rep against the Razorbacks, lining up in the slot as he proceeds to run step-for-step with the receiver down the field, forcing the QB to hold onto the football which results in a coverage sack.
Jones is a physical defender not only in pass coverage but also in run defense. He is a willing run defender that will come downhill and make plays on the football. Watch Jones run through this screen attempt against the Hurricanes, adjusting to the ball as the receiver tries to block him from the side and takes the ballcarrier down right at the LOS for no gain.
Still, Jones would be wise to clean up his tackling technique as he can be a tad lackadaisical at times by lowering his head or lunging forward into tackles like on this rep against Miami, getting the ballcarrier down, but leaving himself susceptible to whiffing on the attempt.
Jones tends to rely on his eyes a little too much at times, leaving him susceptible to getting out of position. Here is one example where Jones drifts over on the RPO, following the QB when the back gets the handoff and gets a clean lane to the sideline as Jones attempts to counter back and push him out of bounds after an explosive run.
Jaylon Jones also needs to do a better job getting his head turned around on passes where the receiver is coming back to the football to contest the pass in close quarters. Watch this rep against Arkansas where the WR runs a back shoulder fade along the sideline, turning his body to the football while Jones is unable to get his head around to see the pass coming. It’s a difficult route to defend in general for any CB, but Jones would have a better chance if he located the football.
Due to his physical nature, Jaylon Jones also has a tendency of grabbing onto receivers’ jerseys if they start to get a step on him down the field. Here’s a good example against Miami where is a little stiff in his transition, giving some ground to the intended target and proceeding to tug at his jersey, drawing the flag.
Overall, Jaylon Jones is a big, physical CB that fits the mold of what teams are looking for on the outside. He is a tad stiff and needs to be more disciplined in his technique, but Jones has shown the ability to be a pass deflection machine at the college level, using his length and size to contest passes against bigger, stronger pass catchers. He has notable movement skills for his size to stay in phase and brings a physical presence that can aid in a team’s run defense.
When watching Jones, Martin Emerson of the Cleveland Browns comes to mind as a pro comparison for the defensive back. Emerson was drafted in the third round last year out of Mississippi State, being another big, long SEC CB (6’1 5/8”, 201lb) that racked up PBUs while picking off just one pass in his college career. He ended up starting six games for Cleveland as a rookie and played in every game, proving he was well worth that middle-round investment as he racked up 15 PBUs in 2022.
I expect Jones to have a similar transition to the league as a cover corner that won’t go the highest in this class, but will be pro-ready with the frame, length, and experience to see the field early on in his career. He may not turn into a ballhawk at the next level, but I expect him to challenge receivers routinely as he racks up PBUs while adding as a run defender and special teamer. The Steelers could use another CB in the room next season and Jones as the size, pedigree, and production the team would be interested in considering him somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.
Projection: Day Two/Early Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 8.2 – Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)
Games Watched: vs Miami (2022), vs Arkansas (2021), at Missouri (2021)