Get-off/Burst - Really good first step to challenge blockers right off the snap. Will occasionally be late off the ball, but the majority of the time shows good quickness to penetrate. Rare speed up the field to challenge the mobility of opposing blockers. Can vary his pace a little bit to surprise blockers with bursts of action, wish he did this a little more often.
Leverage - Pad level is disappointing most of the time. Already has a built-in leverage advantage due to being 6-foot-2, but fails to use it too often, standing straight up and getting carried off down the line of scrimmage. Double teams are an issue. Consistently caught high off the snap and struggles to control or detach from blockers as a result. Needs to do a better job of dropping his pads when he corners his opponent as a rusher.
Hand Usage - As a pass rusher, Jones has flashed a nasty cross chop, a swim, push-pulls moves and the ability to rip through contact to the quarterback. His hands need more nuance in terms of timing and variety, but he shows great suddenness to surprise opponents with quick assaults. As a run defender, hand usage is a significant weakness, doesn't strike with authority or control his opponent's chest (and therfore the line of scrimmage) like you would hope. Has to get better at working off of blocks with more authoritative hand usage.
Rush Plan/Counters - Has flashed the ability to string moves together on his way to the quarterback, but inconsistency still exists. At times is uncreative with his plan of attack, while in other games seemed to work into a more natural flow. Counters still don't come readily, but he does have a nice spin move that could be a go-to for him in the NFL. Footwork could be better when transitioning to half-man, will plant too far outside his opponent, widening his angle rather than trimming tightly to the blocker's frame.
Mental Processing/Block Recognition - Improved a little bit this season at recognizing and holding his gap against zone schemes, but in general this is an area of weakness for Jones. He needs to find the football through contact and hold the point-of-attack much better in the NFL than he did in college. Allows himself to get too deep into the backfield and fails to stay square to the line of scrimmage, beating himself in 1v1 exchanges and leaving gaping holes for teammates to defend.
Range - Unbelievably rare range for an interior defensive lineman. Can open up and run for pursuit plays that few can make, while also showing the ability to make plays in space against more athletic ball carriers. Quarterbacks outside of the pocket are not safe.
Bend/Flexibility - Needs to do a better job of dropping his pads to finish rushes or challenge half-man on twists, but overall has the ability to bend tough angles to get in on the action. Flexible athlete who should test well in the 3-cone and potentially has some ability to play situationally on the edge at the next level.
Tackling - Didn't notice any major issues here. Not a big hitter by any stretch of the imagination, but has the length and strength to get runners on the ground 1v1. Ability to finish in space due to athleticism and body control is impressive.
Competitive Toughness - So I think Jones is extremely competitive and plenty tough, but his preferred style of play is definitely more finesse. He's far from the type of defensive lineman who will maul opponents physically, but he's not out here playing scared either.
Athleticism/Size - Carries no bad weight and desirable measurables, but may need to add bulk in the NFL. Not much junk in the trunk, not sure he'll hit 295 pounds. Outstanding all-around athlete who should destroy the Combine.
BEST TRAIT - Athleticism
WORST TRAIT - Run Defense
RED FLAGS - None
The dichotomy of Jones' skill set should make him one of the more polarizing evaluations in the 2019 NFL Draft class. On one hand he's a special athlete with rare movement skills and a quickly-developing repertoire of rush moves, but on the other hand he struggles mightily as a run defender, from recognizing blocks to getting off of them to holding the point of attack.
Jones may need to put on some weight to play inside in the NFL, which could lead to some discussion on whether he should shed a few pounds and play on the edge, where he will see less double teams and have an easier time staying clean. I'm not sure I see that position switch in the cards for Jones just yet, but if he ends up at the Senior Bowl (December graduate), hopefully we will see him play a couple different positions to get a feel for where he might fit best in the NFL. If it is on the interior as expected, Jones' value will be determined by which teams are willing to live with his deficiencies as a run defender in favor of what he can become on long/late downs.
Round Grade: 3rd