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2017 NFL Draft scouting report: Sidney Jones

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Today we break down and profile cornerback Sidney Jones out of Washington.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Colorado vs Washington Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In my previous scouting report on Marshon Lattimore, I predicted that defensive backs would hear their names called more than any other position on day 1. The good news for the San Francisco 49ers is that if they don’t select a corner or a safety on day 1, there will be ample opportunities to do so on day 2 and even on day 3. Today I am going to discuss a first round caliber cornerback than will not only be available on day 2, but in round 3. This prospect was one of the best cover corners in the nation this past season as a member of the Washington Huskies.

So, I’ll get this out of the way quickly, and discuss in more detail in my summary towards the end…I am projecting that Sidney Jones will be available in the 3rd round of the draft. In early March at his Washington Pro Day, Jones unfortunately ruptured his Achilles tendon. It is always unfortunate when a great prospect suffers an injury just as they are about to cash in and begin their NFL career. It happened last year with Jaylon Smith who lost a lot of money after a gruesome knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Hopefully Jones has a quick and speedy recovery and can be a positive contributor to whoever selects him on day 2.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Jones was a major contributor on the Huskies’ defense, and a reason why the team made their first College Football Playoff was his own island, giving receivers fits all season long. A versatile cornerback who can be lined up anywhere along the field and put up positive productive numbers. A cornerback who hits through his shoulder, and doesn’t think twice about knocking receivers off-balance and off their intended routes. Watching his film, Jones is locked in, and has laser focus, following the quarterback’s eyes in pass coverage. Thanks to his burst to go along with both his vertical and lateral movement, he can cut down recover’s routes, and stay toe-to-toe with deep threats looking to stretch the field. His film also show’s his proficient awareness and football instincts. While I believe he needs to continue to bulk up a bit and add some muscle to his frame, I still like his physicality, and his toughness against receivers, especially on the outside.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Colorado vs Washington Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Jones Stats for the 2016 season: 39 Tackles, 3 Interceptions, 6 passes broken up, 2 forced fumbles.

The Basics

School: Washington
Jersey Number: 26
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 186 lbs.
Hands: 9 3/8”
Arm Length: 31 1/2”
40 Time: 4.47
Vertical Jump: 33.5”
Broad Jump: 123.0”
3 Cone Drill: 7.02
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.28

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

How the measurables translate for cornerbacks:

Information on measurables courtesy of Draft Breakdown

CORNERBACK

Drill Target Explanation

40 yd dash 4.55 Speed over distance
10 yd split 1.60 Initial quickness
225 Bench 15 Upper body strength
Vertical Jump 36″ Explosiveness
Broad Jump 10’0″ Explosiveness
20 yd shuttle 4.00 Flexibility/burst/balance
60 yd shuttle 11.2 Endurance
3 cone drill 7.00 Agility/COD

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Colorado vs Washington Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Do Your Homework

Here is game film and highlights of Jones in action this season: Opponents include: Arizona, Colorado, California, Utah, USC, Stanford, and Arizona State.

NCAA Football: Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

PROS

  • Versatile…Can be lined up anywhere on the field…outside, slot, etc.
  • Knocks receivers off balance and off their intended routes.
  • Excels in anticipation about where the play is going to happen. Can follow the quarterback’s eyes from snap to point of release.
  • Has ball-hawk abilities to track down the football and make a play. Will contest jump-balls against even the most physical receivers he faced.
  • Quick, swift feet than can help Jones accelerate and pick up speed quick.
  • Strong ability to turn and run through his hips. Running is natural and strides are clean and precise.
  • Plays physical and tough, and will finish his hits.
  • Plays his strongest on the short routes in and near the line of scrimmage. Will tangle up receivers, and deflects passes thrown his way.

CONS

  • Will need to bulk up and continue to add some muscle to his current frame.
  • On film there were times he was out muscled and taken out pf the play by more physical receivers.
  • Currently recovering and rehabbing a torn Achilles tendon he sustained at his Pro Day.
  • While he plays with a tough, competitive nature, Jones will need to continue his tackling abilities in the open field, especially against larger receivers.
NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

SUMMARY

Sidney Jones is a reliable, complete cover corner who showed a massive amount of production during his career with Washington. He picked up exactly where from teammate and current Kansas City Chief’s corner Marcus Peters left off. On film, he reminds me of Peters based on his style of play and abilities as a defensive back. Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet that should is his leadership. He was one of the primary reasons Washington had a date with Alabama in the College Football Playoff in January’s Peach Bowl in Atlanta (Farewell Georgia Dome). One of my favorite qualities about Jones is his ability to take the receiver out of the play. This quality shows up so much on film. Ball-tracking is another strong trait of his. In the game against Cal, Jones is able to not only track down the football, but completely take the receiver out of the play…Added bonus is that he robbed Cal of a touchdown (See video above!).

The San Francisco 49ers have a need at cornerback, especially after Brock’s release. If the 49ers decide to address another position on day 1, then Jones can certainly be in play for them on day 2. Perhaps it will be tempting to select him with their second round pick, but believe it or not I think Jones will continue to slip far enough down for the 49ers to either select him with their third or trade back up to the very end of the 2nd. Injuries are unfortunate, and even more so because they will even drop elite prospects (I’m looking at you Jaylon Smith & Myles Jack). Smith was a shoo-in to go in the top 5 last year before the knee injury…Jack was at least a top 10 pick before negative medical reports surfaced regarding his knee. Both went on day 2. Before the injury I had Sidney Jones going within the top 25. Now I am seeing value of a late second-early third round selection.

Sidney Jones can be a steal for the San Francisco 49ers on day 2 in round 3, and when healthy he has the potential to be the future number one corner on this team. There is a reason why he had a first round grade before the injury. Jones is a first round caliber player. Like with any injured player, the 49ers will have to make their own evaluations on the prospect’s health and outlook. However, if Sidney Jones falls as I am projecting then his misfortune could be the 49ers fortune come draft weekend.

Draft Projection: 3rd Round

What are your thoughts on Sidney Jones? Am I too ambitious thinking Jones will drop to the third round? Are you confident Jones can see the field in 2017? Share in the comments below!