No doubt about it: Jarvis Jones is a superior talent. But his medical report is getting in the way of him being a true can't-miss prospect. His resume' is off the charts; finalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski, Butkus and Lott awards. Led the NCAA in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles last year. SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
However, with his refusal to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, Jones got people wondering what he had to hide. And his Pro Day didn't go well, if you listen to "league sources". However, according to Jones, his Pro Day went very well, and he is willing to let his past performances and tape do the talking for him.
"At the end of the day, the tape shows everything," said Jones in a radio inerview. "I'm not the greatest player to play and I still have a lot of things to work on. I understand that and that is what humbles me. I still have a lot of things to work on but I have been a productive player since the day I stepped on the field. Led the SEC twice, I was SEC Player of the Year and I think accomplished it in the best conference. No knock to anybody else because there are a lot of great players out there, but I do what I do. I'm a football player. I love the game and the football drills show a lot, but when you get on the field, it's a whole different ballgame."
Yes, the past is impressive, but the past is only one year. Jones was hurt for large parts of the prior two years.
He transferred from one school (USC) that wasn't sure he should play, to a school that thought he was OK to play. Georgia turned out to be smarter than Lane Kiffin, and Jones made the rest of college football pay. Yet it still was only one year. Additionally, spinal stenosis is nothing to laugh at. One bad hit and Jones could have permanent spinal column problems.
Nonetheless, regardless of all the rhetoric, Jones will be selected and likely in the first round. How high or low is the subject of much discussion. Mock drafts all over the Internet have Jones going anywhere from number two to number 29.
Would Jones be a good fit for the Cardinals? Nobody knows.
No one outside the Cards' front office knows what kind of defense the Cards will run in 2013. Since the front office just blew up the defensive backfield, and did little to augment the line or the linebacking corps, we have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on.
Will they run a 3-4? Or a 4-3? Or a 4-6-1? We won't know until the preseason games start. And that is a long way off. Could Jones fit in either a 3-4 or a 4-3? He played best as the pass-rushing OLB in the 3-4 in college.
If he had to play in a 4-3, he would be killer on passing downs. But he is unproven in space. Can he stick to ball carriers coming out of the backfield? Can he backpedal and cover in the flats? Jones wasn't tested often in those scenarios. Is Jones worth a high draft pick if he is only going to play on passing downs if you run a 4-3, as is rumored for the Cards? And his long-term durability is being questioned heavily.
If the Cardinals were to ask me, I would say: pass. The Cardinals have been extremely burned by the injury bug (see Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, Greg Toler, etc). Jones has too many medical questions. The Cardinals can't afford to swing and miss at number seven -- or on ANY of their picks, but particularly at number seven. If the Cardinals decide on a pass rusher at Number Seven, take Barkevious Mingo or Ziggy Ansah.
What say you, the Best and the Brightest?