Scouting: Byron Jones – CB, UCONN
HT/WT: 6’1”, 196 lbs
Expected draft pick: Late first, early second round
With the draft just under two weeks away, the picture becomes a little clearer, pertaining to who will be available when the Ravens select at #26. Cornerback appears to be the biggest need, so the next few reports of mine leading up to the draft, will focus on some of the names that could be there late in the first round.
(Here are previous looks at CBs Marcus Peters, and Quinten Rollins)
Discuss your thoughts on this potential Ravens draft target on our message board.
Let’s take a look at Byron Jones. His stock has been on the rise since he set a world record broad jump of 12’3” at the Scouting Combine, and impressing at his pro day. At 6’1” his size will play in the NFL as teams are targeting bigger cornerbacks these days. Along with good size to matchup with receivers, he sports a freakish 44.5” vertical leap.
He is coming off a 2014 season which he missed the final seven games after injuring his shoulder and requiring surgery.
Byron Jones is instinctive and quick. Watch here in terrible wet ball conditions, as he grabs the bobbled ball and goes for the pick six in a blink.
He also shows the ability to blanket receivers. Here against ECU he remains in the receivers pocket all the way. The key here is the way he gets his head around to find the football. Don’t give the official any reason to throw that flag and put the ball on the one yard line.
The key here is his quickness laterally. Despite the change in direction by the receiver, Jones is stuck like glue. A nice read on the errant pass is a bonus.
But I’m not sold on Jones’ tackling ability, and that is what plagued the Ravens, possibly more than the DBs pass defense. You can get away with this against ECU. Try bringing down a big NFL receiver with an arm tackle around the shoulder pads while going for the strip. He’s lucky to have had help around him should the receiver have slipped out.
- Size and speed
- Better in press coverage
- Looks for the ball/gets head around
- Fluid hips and lateral movement
- Shoulder injury/willingness to tackle fundamentally
- Doesn’t close fast in off-man coverage
Overall: Though he’s been a corner for UCONN the last two seasons, he played safety for them in 2011 and 2012. That kind of versatility is intriguing as the Ravens have needs all across the secondary. He has a nose for finding the football as a safety, but not sure about the coverage skills. He is much better at covering men in press-man coverage, showing the ability to stick in their hip pocket. Doesn’t really predict routes well, nor closes quickly on short routes in off-man coverage. Teams will want to know if the shoulder will be an issue going forward, or if it will affect the way he tackles. First round grade seems a bit high to me, strictly because of the tackling ability, and because he wasn’t on the radar until he jumped out of the building at the combine. Combine performance is nice, but it shouldn’t sky rocket your stock by any means. Poor tackling is something you can’t mask, and will rear its ugly head at the worst possible times.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]