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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: IOL Robert Jones

  • The Draft Network
  • January 10, 2021
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Middle Tennessee State offensive lineman Robert Jones projects as an offensive guard at the NFL level despite the time he’s spent at offensive tackle at the collegiate level. Jones is a mauler who offers heavy hands and a thick frame—exactly the kind of build and profile you routinely see make ends meet on the interior. Jones does not have a great deal of functional athleticism, but his pass sets are sufficient and he offers plenty of power in his hands and mobility in the run game. Prior to his time at MTSU, Jones was one of the top JUCO tackles in the country at Highland Community College, where he played left guard. That exposure to the interior will help fortify a projection to the pro game, where his athleticism won’t allow him to thrive on the perimeter and in isolation. Teams looking for a low-cost investment inside for a potential power starter can look for Jones ideally on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Ideal Role: Developmental starting guard.

Scheme Fit: Gap/power heavy rushing system.


Written by: Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: Western Kentucky (2020), Florida International (2020), Rice (2020)

Best Game Studied: Western Kentucky (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Florida International (2020)

Competitive Toughness: Brute strength stands out and the possibilities back inside should only draw out more of that mauler mentality. Jones offers plenty of physical strength and tenacity at the point of attack, showing a finishing prowess to help drive defenders out of the frame once he establishes some forward push. 

Balance: The restrictions here come from athleticism and mobility. He doesn’t have great agility and therefore he’s a build-up mover, and when he’s forced to alter pace quickly, things can come off the rails. You’re best served keeping him moving north in the run game. In pass protection, secondary counters can result in overcorrection and he can fall off the block without the foot quickness to reset. 

Anchor Ability: A very powerful frame allows him to counter pure power rushes quite well. His foot speed isn’t great—so if you get him on his heels quickly you can parlay that into a shed of the block and continue with pressure—but his raw strength and hand power help to counteract initial stuns. Despite the lack of coil through frame and rigidness, he has the pure strength to win head-up collisions. 

Lateral Mobility: Jones is fairly stale in this regard, he’s not overly nimble and he’s not especially agile. If he is challenged with late-developing penetration, he’s not consistently going to slam the door shut and keep his gap sealed—at least not without help. His base is wide and offers him some marginal influence laterally, but if he’s not framed clean, he’s going to have hits and misses. 

Power at P.O.A.: Jones has plenty of push, and on down blocks and combinations he’ll wash you out of the play and clear a gap for his back. His second effort after initial contact has folded more than one defender in half on the games I watched. He’ll win in singular gap drive block scenarios, and if you put him inside where he has more help, he should be even more effective. 

Hand Technique: The placement of his punches is adequate but not routinely consistent—although it is possible this is exacerbated by his play on the perimeter, where he’s charged with accounting for more space. In a phone booth, you would hope his precision is a little bit cleaner—and if so, it will yield great benefits as he offers a ton of pop in his hands. 

Football IQ: He’s only got a few years of experience at MTSU and he’s still a little rough around the edges. His feet can be prone to falling off the pace and misframing his blocks and his hands can be a bit wide and wild. But he does well to work himself into a close-quarters fit and once he’s established there he’s got quite the gravitational pull. 

Versatility: He’s played, throughout the course of his college career, at left guard (JUCO) and right tackle, so you feel as though he has a fair chance at being able to flex into multiple spots. But despite his experience at tackle, I would not endorse any opportunities on the outside. 

Pass Sets: His pass sets were sufficient for his level of competition at tackle but speed bested him off the edge, eliminating much chance we’ll see him occupying a tackle role at any point in the NFL. His footwork is proficient and his base allows him to drive for depth, but redirection and ability to push with urgency versus upfield penetration isn’t where he’ll win. 

Flexibility: Jones shows tightness through his core, which is to be expected given his mass and stature. He’ll struggle with redirection or opening himself against his momentum to counter twist and stunt game. He struggles with knee bend and hip coil—you’ll catch him folding at the waist in pursuit of sustaining blocks. 


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Kyle Crabbs: 69/100

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