NFL Draft 2017 Scouting Report: CB Sidney Jones, Washington
*CB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update info as it becomes available.
At his Pro Day, Sidney Jones tore his achilles in a drill and sent his draft stock plummeting. I think a simple study of this year’s cornerback class should have sent him spiraling long before the achilles did. Pre-achilles, Jones was pushing to become a top 15–20 pick and many mainstream rankers’ #1 corner…they’ve all since started bailing on him. They didn’t at first. Reality finally caught up…with the achilles as the excuse. Jones really isn’t anything like the hype he received pre-achilles.
Jones is a very solid, legit NFL prospects. In most years, Jones would be a more legit discussion for the first round, but in the deepest cornerback class any of us have ever seen – Jones is not ‘special’. Not at all.
There are three pretty major issues we see with Jones translating to the NFL…
1) He’s not that agile (7.02 three-cone/4.28 shuttle), and that hurts when talking cutting and coverage.
Jones labors some, among the top corner prospects, to make cuts to the middle of the field. He’s very solid sprinting back on a deep ball, staying with his man, and making a play. That’s his bread and butter. The nitpicking issue (judging him as a first round talent or not) is he gets exposed too much in the short game. Quicker receivers break inside on a short-to-medium slant and leave Jones a step+ behind.
2) He’s not that strong…he’s very thin-framed.
I was watching Jones in an interview and all I could do was stare at his arms. They’re like pencils. His whole frame is thin…not wiry strong like his thin teammate Kevin King, just thin-thin is Jones. In Jones’s 2016 matchup with USC, JuJu Smith-Schuster popped off the line, easily shoved Jones back a step, and then slanted to the middle wide open. Jones is not strong enough to take or give blows with physical receivers..
3) He’s a ‘not interested’, thin-framed tackler.
Jones is quick enough to get to a tackle, but many times he is ‘just late’ to the actual collision. He has a lot of Deion Sanders’s tackling ability. Skinny-arm reaches/grabs and blind shoulder-first dives into a ball-carrier’s legs hoping for the best. Too many missed tackles. Too many times he didn’t really give 100% to make tackles. I don’t think Jones is afraid, but his body isn’t built for heavy contact so he’s not using it that way unless absolutely necessary.
So what do we have here? We have a ‘B-‘ athlete with ‘A’ confidence and a ‘D’ frame for the NFL. This may be medical malpractice on my part, but I wonder if the torn achilles is a sign of issues to come, given his slender body. Signs of a body that will be broken easily in the NFL? Jones is a mid-draft CB talent (in this year’s class) and now he’ll miss the preseason with his rehab…so you may lose a year drafting him. Is Jones the kind of talent you want to redshirt? Not in this year’s class. He’s a solid, good corner, but nothing special in any way in 2017.
Sidney Jones, through the lens of our CB Scouting Algorithm
Jones had PDs registered in only 3 of his 13 games in 2016, and only one game with an interception (two vs. Cal). Most of that can be attributed to teams staying away from Jones.
In his toughest games over his career, against Stanford (3x), USC (2x), and in three bowl games, Jones averaged a meager 2.9 tackles and 0.4 PDs per game.
NFL Combine data…
6′0.0″/186, 31.5″ arms, 9.4″ hands
4.47 40-time, 1.59 10-yard, 4.28 shuttle, 7.02 three-cone
33.5″ vertical, 10′3″ broad jump, 12 bench reps (at his Pro Day)
Stats on CFB Reference: http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/sidney-jones-1.html
The NFL CB that Sidney Jones most compares with statistically in college, within our system:
Kendall Fuller is an excellent comparison – third-round pick in 2016, will be useful in the NFL. No one really cares too much about average corners like this one way or the other within a few years. Nothing special, but solid technique, good effort, and useful.
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*The ratings are based on a 1–10 rating scale, but a prospect can score over 10.0+ and less than 0.0.
OVERALL RATING — We merge the data from physical measurables, skill times/counts from the NFL Combine/Pro Days, with college performance data available on pass coverage/tackles, etc. and grade it compared to our database history of all college CBs, with a focus on which CBs went on to be good-great-elite in the NFL. We found characteristics/data points that the successful NFL CBs had in common in college, that most other CB prospects could not match/achieve.
Scoring with a rating over a 7.00+ in our system is where we start to take a CB prospect more seriously. Most of the future NFL successful college CBs scored 8.00+, and most of the NFL superior CBs pushed scores more in the 9.00+ levels…and future NFL busts will sneak in there from time to time. 10.00+ is where most of the elite NFL CBs tend to score in our system analysis.
COVERAGE -- A combination of on-field data/performance and physical profile data.
SPEED — Measurables from a perspective of straight-line speed, burst, etc.
AGILITY — Measurables for lateral movements, quick cuts, body type, speed, etc.
POWER — A look at physical size, tackling productivity in college, other physical measurables. One of the side benefits/intentions here is to see which CBs may be more of a model for a conversion to playing safety successfully in the NFL. Also, denotes CBs who are more physical/will have higher tackle totals…over pure speed/coverage CBs.
2017 NFL Draft outlook…
His draft rankings have gone from top 20 overall to 3rd and 4th round since his Pro Day achilles tear. I’ll bet third round because there’s always a sucker GM out there who thinks (undeservingly) early media hype first-rounders who fall to the middle of mock drafts are a huge bargain. The media will agree and celebrate the pick…and then no one will care about it in 1–3 years.
NFL Outlook: A solid hand. Might become a starting #2 corner in short order. Injury issues could plague him most of his career.
– R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics.com and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics.com. Read more of his work on FantasyPros and various football websites. His group also provides player projections for fantasy software programs such as Advanced Sports Logic’s The Machine.