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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR Tim Jones

  • The Draft Network
  • January 27, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY – TIM JONES

Tim Jones leaves Southern Mississippi as an accomplished receiving prospect with 150 career receptions and more than 2,000 yards of production. Jones is well built and offers sufficient speed for the pro game—but his wins have often come working into the middle of the field and he’s not especially explosive vertically, so his best projection comes as a bigger slot target for an NFL team. Jones has flashed effective ball skills and done well in contested situations to wrangle the football with a defender hung on his frame. Jones missed significant time in 2020, catching a rough break with both a hamstring injury and COVID protocol removing him from the lineup. With sparing special teams return usage on his resume, Jones will need to impress as a pass catcher to make his mark and carve out a significant role in his pro offense. But he’s had steady progression as a player throughout his time with the Golden Eagles program, so there’s reason for optimism that he can continue to progress into a bigger role. 

Ideal Role: Developmental slot receiver.

Scheme Fit: Vertical passing offense.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: South Alabama (2020), Louisiana Tech (2020), Florida Atlantic (2020), Western Kentucky (2020)

Best Game Studied: Louisiana Tech (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Western Kentucky (2020)

Route Running: Jones has found his greatest impact on fade routes, dig routes, and over routes throughout the middle of the field. The Southern Miss offense put quick slants on his plate from the slot in RPO and he often found success on these targets—although these looks were often countered with nickel pressure, but Jones did well to work to the second window to provide a target. 

Hands: He has flashed effective receptions in the middle of the field but throws that tested Jones’ catch radius also offered some frustrating inconsistencies. He showed the ability to make tough catches in traffic but when he was forced to turn his hands to adjust to the ball, he didn’t always dig it out clean. 

Separation: Jones did find some separation on his fade routes and stacking defenders vertically. But generally speaking, he doesn’t have exceptional burst at the top of routes and NFL defenders who get hands on him early will have some success riding him through the break and staying on the hip. He’ll have more success against zone coverage than aggressive press-man. 

Release Package: Jones didn’t have to showcase a lot of savviness here given the frequency of free releases I studied. He’s got adequate lateral agility and burst so he’s capable of stacking over the top, but it will be dependent more so on hand fighting. The good news? His hands are fairly active early in routes. 

Run After Catch: Jones broke a number of big plays after the catch while taking passes in stride, showing a good sense of where defensive pursuit is. But Jones’ long speed is modest and his wiggle doesn’t jump off the screen at you to suggest he’s got the needed slipperiness to be an NFL YAC threat. 

Ball Skills: Jones made several successful challenges of the football in the red area, tracking the ball well over his shoulder. But the previously mentioned red marks for throws testing his catch radius as he worked back to the LOS are a frustrating layer that will require an accurate passer to make the most of his game. 

Football IQ: Jones showed an effective sense of the perimeter and got his feet down on throws that carried him out of bounds. His spatial awareness stands out as a plus trait and allows him to win in the middle of the field. He will find soft spaces versus zone and make himself available quickly. 

Versatility: Most teams will have a more attractive return option on the roster. He does have admirable scrappiness to his blocking so there may be a kick coverage option worth exploring here if he can prove he can tackle.  

Competitive Toughness: He’s got the right mentality to throw down on the perimeter and from the slot. He’ll be quick to drive off the line in run looks and shows strong hands and persistent feet. A sturdy build will allow Jones to take body blows over the middle of the field and allows him to play fearless there. 

Big-Play Ability: I wouldn’t expect him to be a chunk play target unless he goes to an RPO-heavy team that can exploit second level defenders being frozen by his presence. I like him as a reliable presence to move the chains and let him serve as a complement to more athletically gifted and dynamic receivers. 

Prospect Comparison: Brandon Gibson (2009 NFL Draft, Philadelphia Eagles)

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Kyle Crabbs: 70/100

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