Following the 2013 NFL combine, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, and several others for that matter, had Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones atop their prospect rankings. These rankings were also released after Jones had been poked and prodded by every team doctor who wanted to check out his the spinal stenosis in Indianapolis. In a matter of two months time, Jones found himself still on the board come time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to select the 17th pick of the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Here is what Kiper wrote about Jones in late February after deciding to sit out the combine.
Jones still must prove he belongs here with his pro day performance. He did not work out in Indianapolis. This reflects positional value and exceptional production for a player who is a very good, if not extraordinary, athlete. He combines explosiveness, discipline, relentless pass-rushing ability and great intangibles and effort. (He can also cover.) He profiles as a 3-4 outside linebacker but fits any system.
Was the poor showing that Jones had at his pro day back in March the reason that he dropped? It appears that way. Despite the claims that tape means more to scouts and front office personnel than measurables, one can\’t help but think that performances in underwear hold some sort value. 16 draft spots of value at that.
For comparison purposes only, I have pulled the measurables of the Steelers linebackers that have been drafted over the years from NFL Draft Scout. A few players\’ numbers, such as James Harrison, I haven\’t tracked down yet, but as you can see in the table below, I have a large sample of both inside and outside linebackers.
As far as explosion ratings go, which is the sum of players\’ bench press reps, vertical jump and broad jump, Jones number of 59.9 comes in second lowest of the players listed. Just so you know, Pat Kirwan says a number of 70 or higher is considered superb.
As far as lateral agility numbers go, which is derived by subtracting the players\’ short shuttle time from his forty time, Jones comes in second to last with a .17 number.
Using the speed score formula that was created by Football Outsiders, Jones again comes in second to last with a 86.4 number.
Now, I must admit that even though Jones has several warts on tape, I would have never guessed that he would have measured as poorly as he did, and I am sure that scouts and front office personnel will tell you the same thing.
The numbers are what they are at this point, and as long as Jones produces once he gets on the field for the Steelers, they will serve as a reminder to us, much as they do with Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, that measurables do not amount to much. Should Jones, however, not live up to his college production, several will point out that there were enough numerical signs on the wall that the Steelers should have seen.
If it wasn\’t, however, the measurables that caused Jones to drop, and it wasn\’t spinal stenosis, why else would he fall that far? Was it the warts on the tape?
Table headings below are sortable: