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 Purdue WR Charlie Jones.
#15 Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue (R-Senior) –5113, 175lb
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Charlie Jones||5’11 3/8”, 175lb||9||31 5/8||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has good play speed and explosiveness for the position
— Gets off the line fast on the snap and wastes no time getting into his route
— Plays stronger than his listed size suggests when it comes to contested catches
— Fights through hands of defenders to make catches in traffic
— Can uncover through press coverage to give his QB a target
— Locates the football in the air and when in tight coverage
— Does a good job securing the catch on contact/before he hits the turf
— Possesses the speed and burst to win vertically down the field
— Can stack defenders vertically to get a step on coverage on deep shots
— Gets in and out of his breaks quickly as a route runner
— Does a great job sinking his hips and making quick cuts in space
— Has the leaping ability to climb the ladder and make catches in the air
— Contorts his body to adjust to the ball as he attempts to make the catch
— Has the balance and body control to make catches along the sideline
— Cerebral player that knows how to draw pass interference penalties
— Has the background of a returner, looking to create after the catch
— Proven producer as both a kick and punt returner during his college career
— Has produced against some of the better CBs in college football on the outside
— Undersized when it comes to height, size, and length for the position
— Lacks true deep speed to consistently stack and run by corners
— Lacks strength to win combative catches regularly and work back to the football on jump ball attempts
— Lacks the arm length to reel in balls consistently outside his frame
— Can get re-routed against bigger press corners
— Will struggle against DBs with longer wingspans
— Makes a lot of catches in traffic rather than generating separation from coverage
— Doesn’t have suddenness as a runner after the catch as well as in his routes
— YAC ability only modest rather than being a legit threat in open space
— Will turn 25 years old this season
— Only one year of notable production
— Played primarily on the outside with little exposure and production in the slot
— Not much of a blocker due to lack of size and strength
— Redshirt Senior Prospect from Deerfield, IL
— Born October 29, 1998 (age 24)
— Starred as a receiver and returner in high school, earning all-conference honors as a junior and senior
— Committed to Buffalo out of high school and redshirted his first season on campus
— Played in 12 games in 2018 for Buffalo and recorded 18 receptions for 395 yards (21.9 YPR) and three TDs along with 15 kickoff returns for 289 yards
— Transferred to Iowa and sat out all of 2019 after transferring
— Saw action in seven games in 2020 with the Hawkeyes, recording no catches; carried the ball twice for 38 yards and had 22 punt returns for 223 yards and a TD
— Played in 14 games in 2021 and caught 21 passes for 323 yards (15.4 YPR) and three TDs along with seven carries for eight yards, returned 37 punts for 285 yards and 25 kicks for 635 yards and a TD
— Transferred to Purdue for his final year of eligibility
— Broke out to the tune of 110 catches for a school-record 1,361 yards (12.4 YPR) and 12 TDs along with 18 punt returns for 114 yards and five kick returns for 78 yards in 2022
— Decided to forego playing in the bowl game to enter the 2023 NFL Draft
— Consensus All-American (2022), two-time first-team All-Big Ten (2021-22), second team All-Big Ten (2020), Rodgers–Dwight Return Specialist of the Year (2021)
Purdue WR Charlie Jones took an unconventional route to the pros, but the sixth-year senior appears poised to get a shot at a 53-man roster this summer. The former Bull and Hawkeye showed flashes at his previous two college stops, but a breakout performance as a Boilermaker in 2022 really helped Jones go from UDFA flier to a legit receiver in this draft class.
When you watch Jones, you see a skilled receiver that can win in a multitude of ways. Despite being under 6’0 and right at 175 pounds, he is a good possession receiver that can win through contact at the catch point to secure the catch. Watch this play Jones makes against CB Joey Porter Jr. last season. Breaking through press coverage as he crosses the middle of the field, Jones makes the catch with Porter on his back for the first down.
Watch Jones play through coverage on this play against Syracuse. He separates from the slot defender on the out route, making the catch with outstretched hands as the defender drives him into the turf.
Jones has shown on several occasions that he can go up and get the football in contested coverage. Check out these two clips. Jones leaps to go get the football in-between two defenders in the first clip while he shields off the Syracuse defender with his body as he leaps up and traps the football to his torso with the cover man attempting to knock the ball out.
Jones does a good job identifying the soft spots in coverage and running toward open space to give his QB an open target. On this reception from the same game, he makes the catch over the middle with Porter trailing behind him for another first down.
Jones has also shown the body control and spatial awareness to contort his body to make catches that are off-target or along the sideline. We see the latter here on this catch. Jones shows off some toe-drag swag on the out route, getting a foot in-bounds before he falls out of bounds.
Jones has good speed an explosiveness to challenge defenses vertically if you aren’t careful. He showed us his 4.4 speed at the Combine and has won with speed and burst as a returner as well as a receiver. Watch on this play as Jones wins vertically against fellow NFL draft prospect Garrett Williams from Syracuse. He gets a step on the defender and subtly uses his arm to get Williams off his body, giving him the space to make the catch over the shoulder and run into the end zone for the deep-ball TD.
Jones lacks ideal size and strength when it comes to playing through physical coverage by longer press corners. He also tends to make a lot of catches in contested coverage rather than separating consistently. Jones isn’t going to provide much as a blocker as you can see in this clip. He easily gets thrown off by Porter, who makes the tackle.
Charlie Jones is an experienced receiver who really came into his own in his final year of eligibility. He has shown that he can win at all levels of the field, as a possession receiver or screen guy near the LOS while also stretching the field vertically. He should be able to play as a WR3/4 at the NFL level, but his lack of ideal size/frame and high-end speed and quickness will limit his upside as a player that can consistently separate at the next level and create after the catch.
When watching Jones, Scotty Miller came to mind as a similar receiver that plays mainly on the outside with a little bit of exposure in the slot despite being a smaller target. Miller has a similar frame (5’9 1/8”, 174lb), but great speed and explosiveness (4.36 40, 10’3” broad) to win in the open field as well as a deep threat. He can win vertically, just like Jones, and had a similar breakout season in 2018 at Bowling Green before getting selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
I expect Jones to go somewhere on Day Three, like Miller, and have a similar impact at the next level — as a depth receiver that could become a starter should he get more run in the slot at the next level. The Steelers could use more depth at receiver as well at returner so Jones could be a fit on Day Three of the draft. He will turn 25 during the season, possibly lessening his chances compared to a younger player that is still developing.
Projection: Day Two/Early Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.4 – Rotational Player (4th Round)
Games Watched: vs Penn State (2022), at Syracuse (2022) vs Iowa (2022)