You are guilty, I am guilty and pretty much everyone is gulity. There are only a handful of teams that had Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones on their radar prior to the NFL Scouting Combine in late February. A former Huskie, Jones came into Indianapolis largely unknown and performed a world-record effort in the broad jump. The New Orleans Saints are in the market for a cornerback in this year’s draft and could consider the Connecticut native. Who is this phenomenal athlete and how does he perform on the football field? We continue our draft series with an in-depth analysis on the redshirt senior. In case you missed it, catch up on Senquez Golson here.
NFL Scouting Combine measurements:
Weight: 199 lbs.
Hand size: 10″
Arm length: 32″
Broad jump: 12′ 3″
Vertical jump: 44.5″
3 cone drill: 6.78 seconds
20 yard shuttle: 3.94 seconds
60 yard shuttle: 10.98 seconds
Analysis: These numbers have WOW written all over them. Despite being rather tall and lanky, Jones put up great numbers in the short-area quickness drills. His explosiveness is literally off the charts and the Connecticut native was the only prospect to post a sub-11 second time in the 60-yard shuttle, displaying both endurance and stamina. Byron Jones’ hands are the same size as Odell Beckham Jr., allowing him to get his paws on a lot of passes thrown his direction. He surprisingly chose not to run the 40-yard dash, but it is a fair assumption that he would have been clocked under 4.45 seconds with a ten-yard split in the 1.5’s. A lingering shoulder injury probably kept the 22-year old from participating in the bench press, so a statement on his upper-body strength can not be made.
Production in 2014, according to the Huskies website:
"“Started the first seven games of the season at cornerback before a season-ending [shoulder] injury…finished with 24 tackles, two interceptions and four pass breakups…returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown at USF (Sept. 19)…notched his second pick of the season at No. 18 East Carolina (Oct. 23)…opened the season with back-to-back five-tackle games vs. BYU (Aug. 29) and Stony Brook (Sept. 6)…notched a season-high seven tackles at Tulane (Oct. 11)”"
The interception he made can be seen in this video of the Huskies defense’s first half against East Carolina‘s nationally ranked team. Jones was barely beaten in that game but suffered a shoulder injury in this game that ended his 2014 campaign prematurely.
Synopsis: Byron Jones did what every unheralded prospect wants to achieve at the combine — putting up insane numbers and making scouts re-watch his tape. Doing so, scouts probably fell in love with this twitchy and instinctive defender. The young hopeful even exceeds expectations from cornerbacks. His agility could make him one exciting player in the slot with the ability and height to follow receivers outside as well. On top of his uncanny ability, Jones is a soft-spoken young man with a great work ethic who dominated against -admittedly lesser- competition in the American Athletic Conference. When Byron Jones will be drafted is up in the air at this point, but don’t be surprised if you hear his name called late in the second round. If he slips to the middle of the third round, the Saints should waste no time to draft this intruiging prospect.
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