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Charlie Jones NFL Draft
NFL Draft

Charlie Jones Has Skill Set To Be 2023 NFL Draft Riser

  • Ryan Fowler
  • October 5, 2022
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A transfer from the University of Iowa, Purdue wideout Charlie Jones has become my newest NFL draft crush. He could soon become yours, too. A 6-foot blend of route-running, toughness, and suction cups for hands, Jones has traits to his game that have begun to draw the attention of NFL evaluators.

For a Boilermakers program that has had a wideout drafted in each of the last two years (Rondale Moore in 2021, David Bell in 2022), Jones could be next in line. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell’s favorite target this fall, Jones ranks among the nation’s most productive pass-catchers through the first month of the season with a gaudy 47 receptions, 588 yards, and seven touchdowns. To put into context just how explosive he’s been, he amassed 718 yards and six touchdowns combined in 2018 and 2021 as a whole. 

He’s become as featured a weapon as you’ll find in the country. While Purdue as a unit won’t draw the national spotlight or find themselves in the AP Top 25 this fall, Jones has become a weekly watch for even the casuals of the college game. 

An athlete that initially earned his way into the lineup by way of special teams during his time as a Hawkeye, Jones’ legit 4.3 speed has placed a lofty ceiling on his potential as draft talk ramps up here in the coming months. But while linear ability doesn’t always transfer to being a productive football player when pads are strapped on, the way in which Jones creates separation on the outside is a translatable skill set to the highest level of the game. 

Many receivers would tell you they wish they were blessed with top-end burst or true game-breaking speed, and for a majority, a lapse in one area often fine-tunes another. But for Jones, he’s blossomed as a talent that doesn’t just check boxes but bolds them when you flip on his tape. 

The Big Ten and ACC are no slouches when it comes to producing NFL talent. From edge rushers to wideouts, corners, and all the positions in between, Jones was quickly tested this fall as to just how good he really is at the WR spot. He faced Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. in Week 1 and Syracuse’s Garrett Williams in Week 3. While the senior pass-catcher wasn’t shadowed by the two highly touted perimeter defenders for a full 60 minutes, denying his production would be silly. He had 12 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown against the Nittany Lions and 11 receptions for 188 yards and a trip to paydirt against the Orange. Teams just flat out haven’t found a way to counter him in 2022. You could say it’s a flash in the pan or that stat sheet stuffing doesn’t translate to Sundays, and while both could be true, microscoping Charlie Jones has showcased a player to follow closely as we move into the meat of conference play.

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Ryan Fowler