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Deion Jones. Remember me mention him?

Discussion in '2016 Draft Archive' started by Vrill, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. It's interesting to note that his youtube high school videos list his weight around 230 lbs. While that number might have been somewhat inflated, it's pretty clear he's now conditioned/positioned himself as a speed player, as one of the box safety/LB hybrids that have gained popularity in the NFL in recent years. Jones passed on the bench at the Combine, then did 18 at his Pro Day. That's a little light for a 3-down ILB in this defense.

    Capers relies on his OLBs for edge contain. The ILBs have to defend both between the numbers in the run game and in coverage; I don't see the Packers compromising muscle in the middle for enhanced sideline-to-sideline pursuit or a tick or three running downfield. Capers has always favored a balance in physical attributes at the position: stout enough to defend the run with 4.65 - 4.75 speed to handle most passing game matchups, while being smart enough to handle his concepts. When facing the faster tight ends, the defense is adjusted, using Hyde in that role in recent years. The vulnerability is when teams throw against the base D, or when the RB is an accomplished receiver. Capers seems to be willing to live with those vulnerabilities and I don't see any reason to think he will change his stripes.

    Let's consider another player who has filled the box safety/ILB hybrid situational role in the Capers D. Sean Richardson played that role increasingly in the latter part of 2014, usually in dime, to some good affect. Now consider Richardson's Combine results:

    http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=84148&draftyear=2012&genpos=SS

    Compare and contrast to Jones' Pro Day:

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap30...es-has-off-the-charts-workout-at-lsus-pro-day

    As a rookie, Richardson was 6 lbs. lighter and an inch taller than Jones, but did 22 lifts to Jones' 18, and it showed up in his run defense. His 4.5 speed was more than adequate to the task of the hybrid role. As for the "athleticism" measurements, he outperformed Jones across the board with the 40 time as the only exception. You really never wanted to see Richardson in man coverage downfield; you don't know what Jones might do in that role either but the fact he has always played what's in front of him you're at least looking at a very steep leaning curve.

    From purely a workout metrics standpoint, which is the primary basis of enthusiasm for Jones as an NFL player, Richardson is the more rounded and superior athlete, while also bringing more muscle to the proceedings.

    Now, Richardson is an unrestricted FA and a name that has gone nearly, if not entirely, unmentioned in re-signing discussions. The key reason, no doubt, is his having sustained a second neck injury which is career threatening besides being something the Packers have been averse to chancing.

    But that's not really the point. From a workout metrics standpoint, the superior athlete in Richardson, a guy suited to the box safety/ILB role, who was signed as an undrafted free agent.

    I have an extremely hard time seeing the Packers expend a low second round pick on Jones (or God forbid a trade down into the upper second round) for essentially a situational oversized safety who has not played the position.

    If you like Jones for that situational role, it might be more constructive to review the SS prospects pegged for middle to low rounds.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
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  2. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Here's more from Pro Football Focus on Jones, which ranked him the seventh most overrated prospect in this year's draft:

    People are going to drool over his pro day 40 time, but I’m not even convinced that he’s that great of an athlete. The 4.59 he ran at the combine looks good for a linebacker until you realize he’s only 222 pounds and smaller than a good number of the running backs he’ll have to tackle. Teams would overlook that if he was dynamic in coverage, but his -6.6 coverage grade was the third-lowest in the SEC. He allowed 381 yards on 42-57 targets, while only getting his hands on four passes all season long.
     
  3. After a brief perusal of box safety/ILB hybrid possibilities in the draft, I submit Myles Killebrew for consideration:



    He's a big time hitter without being a penalty-in-waiting headhunter. Seems to have a knack for punching the ball out. Looks decent in zone coverage. Plays with a lot of energy. Clocked 4.65 at the Combine, however he looks a tick or two faster seeing him run in the open field in the above clips. Unlike Jones, he brings some actual decent looking experience playing downfield.

    His athletic measurables are better than Jones except for the 40 time and are quite similar to Richardson's Combine numbers, and like Richardson lifted 22 at the Combine, a box player number that also matches the eye test. Looks like he'd be a decent special teams contributor as well.

    http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=128751&draftyear=2016&genpos=SS

    The competition level at Southern Utah is a concern, and he's definitely on the raw side. But he showed up at the Senior Bowl and made some plays. It looks to me like runners did not like seeing him coming:



    nfldraftscout.com pegs him at a 3-4 round pick...again, he's raw and the 40 time does not fit a traditional coverage SS or he'd be a poor fit in a D where the safeties are supposed to be interchangeable (something Capers claimed was his preference when he actually had the talent to back it up in Collins and Burnett). But that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about a situational and matchup box safety/ILB, which is all these kinds of guys can be in this defense.

    The point being, how much are you willing to pay for a 4.4 time in the 40 when other question marks come with it and other cheaper, attractive alternatives are available?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
  4. That echos my post.
     
  5. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    The comparison to Richardson is a concern in one respect: I don’t think Richardson was very good in coverage in 2014.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
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  6. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    Well, people need to take into consideration that Darron Lee from Ohio State is 6'1 218 pounds and Deion Jones is 6'2 220 pounds. I'm sure there are some give or take there for both, however, if people say that Jones' size is a negative, then Darron Lee needs to be spoken about in that same breath.

    Both are identical in size. But Jones has shown that he has better wheels. Speed isn't something you can teach. But technique and how to play a position is something you CAN teach.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  7. C-Lee

    C-Lee Cheesehead

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    PFF went in on this dude.
     
  8. Yes, I did mention Richardson's liability in coverage, particularly in the traditional SS role. I don't see a lot of evidence to suggest Jones won't have similar issues given he shows himself as a downhill/sideline-to-sideline player, not a downfield player. Somebody will draft him as a 4-3 OLB, or perhaps a 4-3 ILB.

    The point of the Richardson comparison is that Jones is suddenly a player gaining particular attention strictly on the merits of a 40 time, a level of speed one might note that is unnecessary for the position, particularly given the weight and strength trade offs which is evidently what he was training toward. I would discount that 40 time and look at the tape.

    I too respect Mayock. I don't happen to agree in this case. Or more correctly, I won't presume to think Jones isn't the 5th. best ILB in this draft, but given the weak draft class where there might not be a 3-down player for this defense among them, I would not value him as a second round pick which seems to be conventional thinking at this stage.

    These tweener box safety/ILBs frequently present themselves as cautionary tales. The flavor of the year in the last draft was Shaq Thompson who Carolina took with the #25 pick. Terrific athlete stamped "football player" all over, a guy some thought had a better future as a running back. As it is, Thompson had the benefit of playing next to two studs in Kuechly and Davis, at 4-3 OLB no less, yet could only see the field for 1/3 of Carolina's defensive snaps. He was almost exclusively a coverage OLB taking on TEs while untrusted to defend the run. You'd think Carolina could live with a less than stellar run defender given the other guys at the LB positions in order to develop their first round talent. Evidently he proved too great a liability in the run game.

    Did Thompson perform well in that limited role? Carolina people seem to think so. But do you spend high draft capital on a situational player? I don't think so.

    Better to look at the bigger SS players available who come at significantly lower cost.

    Yeah, it is as much art as science, with a gaudy 40 time being part of the scientific evaluation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
  9. Pokerbrat2000

    Pokerbrat2000 Opinions are like A-holes, we all have one.

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    Former Packer, Brad Jones, albeit an OLB, was seen early in his career to be an excellent prospect because of his 4.49 speed. Fortunately, we only wasted a 7th rounder on him, but his speed ended up being his only good quality in the NFL.
     
  10. Add Nick Barnett to the list to the list of fast ILBs where speed was the chief, if not only, thing to recommend him. His overestimation of his abilities and his big mouth were exceeded only by his consistent incomprehension of which way the play was going. He had that career game taking on Westbrook one-on-one all over the field, but reading an offense proved to be a foreign concept.
     
  11. Pokerbrat2000

    Pokerbrat2000 Opinions are like A-holes, we all have one.

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    So besides Clay Matthews, are we a drafting wasteland for LB's? Hawk had a decent career, but most would argue not that great for the #5 pick in the draft. Ryan and Barrington, the jury is still out.
     
  12. The Hawk/Bishop combo in 2010 was pretty decent. They complemented each other well, and Hawk could still run some at that point. Bishop's career-killing injury was unfortunate. Other than that, yes, LB has not been a draft strength.

    Perry gets yet another year, after 4 years of trying, to make his mark, though if Matthews goes outside as McCarthy prefers then he'll be a rotational player once again trying to prove he can succeed Peppers while being limited in snaps. Jones, too, is in his contract year trying to earn that same spot. Maybe the light turns on for one of these two guys, but with 4 and 3 years, respectively, under their belts a sudden jump from either of these guys without a scheme change (which ain't happening) would be a surprising result.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
  13. andeftw

    andeftw Cheesehead

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    He hasn't shown better wheels. Darron Lee ran 4.47 at the combine, Jones ran 4.59 at the combine Say what you will about his pro day, they ran on the same track and Lee was much faster.
    You want to draft an undersized linebacker who's a liability in coverage in the first round? Thank goodness you have no say in the teams' personnel decisions...
     
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  14. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    His pro day 40 time speaks for itself. I don't know what world you live in, but last time I checked, 4.3 is faster than 4.4. The whole point of pro days is to get measurables on players, duh. Otherwise, why have pro days for?

    And you call Deion Jones undersized. Why not say Darron Lee is as well? They are the same size. And if you want to get REALLY technical, Deion Jones is slightly bigger than Darron Lee.

    And while we are having this discussion, nowhere did I say we should draft Deion Jones over Lee or Ragland in the first round, so lets make that clear. Also, last I looked, draft stocks can rise or fall. Just look at our very own Aaron Rodgers. So yes, Deion Jones could very well work his way into the late 1st round. Its happened before in the past with players, its not some revelation.

    Lastly, every single so called "draft expert pundit" out there will have different takes on the same player. Mike Mayock loves Deion Jones. Meanwhile, others don't like him as much. So if you asked 10 different so called "draft expert pundits" the same question, you'll most likely get 10 different answers. And this is exactly why you have pro days for. It doubles up on measureables and pro days are usually when a players stock rises or falls. The combine is not the end all be all. There is more to the process, thus the pro day. The pro day is where GM's and scouts get that "its what I thought and seen all along" moment.

    PS: What NFL fans want and see and what an NFL front office wants and sees, are two different things 9 times out of 10. So thank goodness you're not making personnel decisions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  15. Patriotplayer90

    Patriotplayer90 Cheesehead

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    I think they're both undersized. 230 is the smallest pure ILB I'd want, unless they are used in ways where their speed is used to their advantage, and their lack of size isn't exploited.

    If you look at tape of Ragland, you can tell he can hold his own at the line and get off blocks to make tackles. The other two have more coverage potential, but neither were good at it in college, while Ragland actually held his own.
     
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  16. jetfixer

    jetfixer Cheesehead

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    Something tells me if we can get the injured ND kid in the second we take the chance, seems I read where the Packers really still like him. It won't help this year for sure. I do like the Killebrew kid too.
     
  17. Pokerbrat2000

    Pokerbrat2000 Opinions are like A-holes, we all have one.

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    I think you are talking about Jaylon Smith. Guessing many teams have their eyes on him and all are hoping he drops further and further in the draft. As long as there isn't a lot more damaging news about his injury, I think someone will pull that trigger faster then expected, but he could still be on the board in the second when the Packers pick. He has way too much potential not to be considered a steal for someone as he drops further down.
     
  18. Curly Calhoun

    Curly Calhoun Cheesehead

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    For what it's worth, ProFootballFocus has him #7 on their list as the ten most overrated NFL 2016 draft prospects:

    People are going to drool over his pro day 40 time, but I’m not even convinced that he’s that great of an athlete. The 4.59 he ran at the combine looks good for a linebacker until you realize he’s only 222 pounds and smaller than a good number of the running backs he’ll have to tackle. Teams would overlook that if he was dynamic in coverage, but his -6.6 coverage grade was the third-lowest in the SEC. He allowed 381 yards on 42-57 targets, while only getting his hands on four passes all season long.


    https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2016/03/16/draft-10-most-overrated-2016-nfl-draft-prospects/
     
  19. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I´d rather have the Packers draft an inside linebacker capable of playing all three downs at the position. With the team not in need of a strong safety I don´t see the need for a tweener.

    I agree that evaluating prospects is an art and I respect Mayock as well but I like PFF´s take on potential draftees as they´re the only source which grades every snap of all FBS players. I fully understand they´re far from perfect but there isn´t any more detailed information available.

    The Packers started playing Datone Jones at outside linebacker over the second half of last season, so maybe playing a new position will turn on the lights for him.

    Technically Darron Lee (6-1, 232) is slightly bigger than Deion Jones (6-1, 222). I´d rather select a prospect impressing on tape than either at the combine or pro day. As has been repeatedly mentioned Jones didn´t have a good season last year, isn´t a great fit for the Packers and should for sure not be drafted within the first two rounds.
     
  20. As would I, and as should anybody. But not to put too fine a point on it, there are no clear, available candidates.

    This thread is about one of those tweeners in Deion Jones, so my point is that if one sees the necessity for this type of player (which I'll get to in a minute) who would have utility in dime and some nickel packages depending on matchups (as we saw briefly with Richardson), then there are alternatives for whom the draft cost is more in line with a situational role.

    The problem is that the qualification list for a well-rounded 3-down ILB is long and varied. The issue is more pronounced in the 3-4 D where the ILBs take on most of the coverage responsibility that OLBs take on in 4-3. Not to put too fine a point on it, the key vulnerability in the 3-4 has traditionally been the short-to-intermediate-middle passing zones manned by the ILB unless you happen upon a Patrick Willis and have the high draft pick to grab him. The Packers have been in keeping with this tradition, but they are hardly alone.

    The long and short of it is 3-down ILBs, particularly for the 3-4, are hard to find. I don't see even one clear candidate anywhere in this draft class. Kendricks was the guy last year. While certainly no Patrick Willis, we saw the well-rounded skill set needed to qualify as a 3-down player, despite the fact that the consensus of analysts/scouts was to downgrade him in the run game for less than robust physicality and the ability to get off blocks. They missed the fact he was an instinctive flow player with excellent fundamentals, sadly a good fit for the 3-4 weak side. But that's beating a dead horse.

    So, where have all the 3-down ILBs gone? There seems to be only about one per year worthy of a first round pick in recent history, with none this year. I have a theory. With the rise of the possession passing game out of the college spread offenses (and even down into the elite high school programs), I think some of the guys with the ILB skill set are ending up very early at TE if they have some hands. Alternatively, guys with strength, speed, a knack for the pass rush, and a defensive mentality end up edge rushing early on and never learn coverage skills. Or guys with a well-rounded run/pass skill set who lack the bust to play edge rusher end up at 4-3 OLB. In each case the emphasis is in loading talent into the passing game on both sides of the ball. Examining the 4-3 OLB group of guys who show a decent mix of run/coverage skills for a possible conversion to ILB candidate might yield some credible names, particularly if their pass rush bona fides are not strong causing them to drop in the draft. Just because the Palmer conversion didn't work out doesn't mean it wouldn't with a better football player, though the chance he gets coached up sufficiently for week 1 would be slim to none...you'd have to be thinking about the end of the season push.

    So what do I conclude? While we want a 3-down player, there aren't any readily available. The league has adapted to this issue and gone to Plan B with the increasingly popular tweener safety/LB guys who can cover on passing down. It's not optimal since there are enough run/pass tweener downs where the rotation doesn't match up well with the offensive play call or audible. But when given lemons, an ade that might taste sour at times is better than going thirsty.

    Pending Ryan's further development, about which I am optimistic but hardly certain, there is no 3-down ILB on the roster, no likely candidate in the draft, and no chance one can be found in FA at this juncture (if there ever was one) Therefore, I would propose a base lineup of Ryan and Barrington (assuming the latter is fully recovered from the foot injury), and a speedy tweener with coverage potential in the draft to sub for Barrington on passing downs. And frankly, if Barrington is not back to form, this team needs 2 ILBs if Matthews is to get back where he belongs. That may require a both a 2-down run game backer and a tweener, anywhere from the second round down into the middle rounds. The guys currently behind Ryan and Barrington are poor; I can't even qualify them as "just guys".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2016
  21. JK64

    JK64 Cheesehead

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    Missed tackles, that will fit right in with the Packers' defense.
     
  22. jetfixer

    jetfixer Cheesehead

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    I watched a game of his on youtube, vs. Sam Houston St. not too good that day.......but it's one game.
     
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  23. Patriotplayer90

    Patriotplayer90 Cheesehead

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    People think any ILB with speed will fix all problems on defense, while the players like him and Lee who possess it are average players.
     
  24. jetfixer

    jetfixer Cheesehead

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    Yep, Lee rarely lined up as a true lb last year.
     
  25. Patriotplayer90

    Patriotplayer90 Cheesehead

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    Right, and even Jack looks average as an ILB at this point, though his athleticism and upside is impressive enough to warrant him as a high pick . Smith and Ragland are the only two that struck me as true ILBs on Week 1. Even the good, fast ILBs in the league are successful only in part because of their speed.
     
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