The Kentucky Wildcats have not had a great history of success in football, but that hasn’t stopped them from producing NFL talent on a semi regular basis. This year the Wildcats have at least two linebackers that need to be on your draft roster. As we’ve already looked at pass rusher Josh Allen, today we look at inside linebacker Jordan Jones and why he fits perfectly into today’s NFL.
Get to Know Jordan Jones
About ten to fifteen years ago a 6’2 218lb linebacker would not have happened in the NFL and Jordan Jones would likely be thought of a move to strong safety. In today’s NFL where the slot receiver is a starter, NFL teams need versatile linebackers who can play in coverage and most of all run and hit. Jones broke out during his sophomore year racking up 109 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. His junior year was a mess as he missed four games because of a shoulder injury, was suspended for the spring game and instigated a fight during against Louisville.
Jordan Jones against the Run
Jones is at his best when he’s able to use his speed and quickness to run side to side and go after the ball carrier. But to have success he needs to be kept clean as he often can get hung up on blocks and can struggle to get off. Jones can use his quickness to his advantage as he’s quick to come up against the run and will look to knife through the offensive line to make plays in the backfield.
Jordan Jones in Coverage
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 1, 2017
In coverage Jones uses his speed and quickness well as he’s able to run with tight ends down the field and react to the running backs releasing into coverage also. With running backs like Christian McCaffery, David Johnson and Alvin Kamara being such weapons in the pass game a skill set like Jones would be well to match up with them. In zone coverage Jones is able to react well to the ball in the air and has the ball skills to break up passes.
Jordan Jones Outlook
With the success of players like Lavonte David, Telvin Smith, Deonne Buccannon and Shaq Thompson the stigma of smaller linebackers is slowly going away and Jones’ size shouldn’t be a big red flag. But for Jones to go where his traits and abilities have him slotted, he’ll need to show that he can stay healthy and that his behavior issues are just a blip on the radar and not a pattern. If all that stays true and Jones is able to bounce back to his 2016 play, then there isn’t a reason that he doesn’t get drafted on day two as a weakside linebacker.