Marcus Jones, Houston CB | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Chances are you’ll know him as one of many biggest school soccer return specialists of the previous decade. However past his return capabilities, Houston CB Marcus Jones additionally has a scouting report worthy of NFL Draft hype on protection. What does Jones convey to the desk as a participant total, and the way will his draft inventory replicate that in April?

Marcus Jones NFL Draft Profile

  • Place: Cornerback
  • College: Houston
  • Present 12 months: Redshirt senior
  • Peak: 5’8″
  • Weight: 185 kilos

Marcus Jones Scouting Report

A choose few prospects ever entertain first-round curiosity. The remaining are left to vie for actual property within the later rounds. In that struggle farther down the board, being versatile may be the deciding edge for prospects. Can you fulfill a mess of roles and doubtlessly present the worth of two gamers in a single roster spot?

That versatility can set sure prospects aside, and it’s a purpose why some go greater than anticipated. That will in the end find yourself being the case with Jones. A supremely versatile prospect if there ever was one, Jones can present distinctive worth in a number of phases. Right here’s how.

Marcus Jones’ athletic profile

He could also be a mere 5’8″, 185 kilos, however Jones makes up for his measurement along with his athleticism. He’s a twitchy, jittery athlete who can explode out of his stance and shut with nice quickness. The Houston CB possesses nice preliminary burst and is a springy athlete who performs at a quick tempo.

Past his burst, Jones additionally has the fluidity to shortly flip his hips out of his stance and carry receivers downfield. He’s capable of change instructions shortly and match releases off the road.

Moreover, Jones has a easy backpedal, and he’s capable of transition from his backpedal and run with receivers. Along with his explosiveness, fluid hips, and powerful top-end velocity, Jones may be troublesome to depart within the mud.

Regardless of his smaller body, Jones is prepared to ship hits coming downfield, and he performs bigger than his body. He may be bodily on the stem, and as a tackler, he is aware of tips on how to sq. up, surge into runners, and wrap up the decrease physique. Jones’ not typically passive within the tackling part. He will get himself in place and makes use of his arms to wrangle opponents.

Execution past the bodily traits

Years of expertise have culminated in operational growth for Jones. Past his athleticism, he’s a wise defender, and he reveals it in quite a few methods. Jones is ready to learn the quarterback’s eyes and break on passes. He sees performs develop shortly. The Houston CB can acknowledge screens by figuring out blockers and closes with urgency. Jones performs with hustle in pursuit, and he chases down performs along with his velocity and play tempo.

In protection, Jones reveals a selected affinity for motion. He has stable footwork on the line of scrimmage. He can mirror releases with reactive quickness and maintain his hips free. Jones does a terrific job of placing his toes first in press protection. In zone, he has the attention to peel off and comply with the QB’s eyes on damaged performs. He additionally has good ball expertise. Jones can monitor the ball and place himself to make performs. Furthermore, he’s aggressive on the catch level, actively looking for to disrupt receivers.

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Surprisingly, Jones additionally supplies worth in run protection, even along with his lesser body. He retains his toes lively when assembly blockers, and he’s capable of sneak previous by making preemptive cuts to destroy blocking angles. And within the field, he brings respectable physicality in touch conditions.

Amongst different issues, Jones is aware of tips on how to flip and proper his leverage when receivers enter his blind spot. He additionally has the flexibility to cowl the slot or transfer to the boundary. Lastly, it’s very a lot price noting that Jones is an elite return specialist on high of his defensive prowess. His explosive, twitchy model interprets completely on particular groups.

Areas for enchancment

Jones’ measurement does convey anticipated shortcomings. Along with his smaller body and shorter wingspan, Jones naturally has a restricted disruption radius on the catch level. His play energy can also be missing in some matchups. He may be merely outmuscled by bigger receivers in contested conditions.

Going additional, Jones’ missing play energy limits his means as an open-field tackler, and it may well additionally restrict his means to get off blocks. The Houston CB may be displaced simply in run protection when blockers get their fingers on him.

Even along with his expertise, Jones can enhance in some areas as a defender. He can enhance his timing and coordination on the catch level in opposition to bigger receivers in some situations. Furthermore, he can do a greater job getting his head round to get his eyes on the ball when protecting downfield. There are occasions when he freezes on the catch level, torn between sustaining positioning and looking for out the ball.

Shifting onward, Jones typically provides up an excessive amount of cushion on route breaks. Moreover, he may be drawn off his man by overlapping route ideas, resulting in communication lapses. When he does stick along with his man, he can get grabby in contested conditions. This may result in penalties. Jones’ size additionally impacts his means to jam receivers on the line, limiting his versatility in press. Along with his shorter strides, he doesn’t all the time have the specified vary out of transitions.

Marcus Jones’ 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

Jones’ measurement shall be limiting. There’s no working round that. He’ll additionally flip 24 years previous throughout his rookie season, so his projected prime years aren’t as plentiful as others. That mentioned, within the rapid timeline, the Houston CB does present good worth and flexibility.

On protection, Jones has proven that he can line up in a number of spots. Whereas he initiatives higher within the slot on the subsequent stage, his lower-body press approach is nice sufficient that he can match receivers on the boundary with out being overpowered on the line. His fluid hips allow him to stay to gamers in protection, and along with his burst and instincts, he can shut on passes and make performs on the ball.

For what Jones lacks as a defender, he makes up for ten-fold along with his returning means. He’s an electrical return man with home-run potential on any given alternative. That means alone could give him some Day 2 buzz for groups in want of a return specialist. His versatility provides him some safety along with his inventory.

However, at the same time as a mere defender, Jones is price an early-to-mid Day 3 choose on the newest. He is usually a precious rotational playmaker with beginning upside in the proper position.

Jones’ Participant Profile

Prospects on the highschool stage typically get missed for his or her measurement alone. That simply makes it extra spectacular that Jones — then listed at 5’8″, 164 kilos — was nonetheless a three-star recruit on ESPN’s board, despite his stature.

Undersized or not, Jones has confirmed since his highschool days that he can play. As a senior, he hauled in 5 interceptions and logged 4 touchdowns on particular groups, incomes first-team 7A All-State honors from the Alabama Sports activities Author Affiliation.

Proving to be an electrical playmaker along with his 4.72 40-yard sprint and 34.9-inch vertical, Jones drew a decent quantity of curiosity. Regardless of fielding a suggestion from Massive Ten stalwart Purdue, Jones dedicated to Troy, staying in his residence state.

At Troy, Jones wasted no time morphing right into a star. He returned 3 kick returns for touchdowns his true freshman season, and in addition logged 2 interceptions and 6 deflections on protection, taking residence Solar Belt Freshman of the 12 months honors because of this. In 2018, he scored one other kick return TD, whereas including an interception and eight extra breakups to his whole.

After 2018, Jones selected to enter the switch portal and take his skills to the next stage. He finally selected the Houston Cougars as his vacation spot.

Jones’ profession at Houston

Jones transferred earlier than the portal guidelines have been modified to grant rapid eligibility. Thus, he needed to redshirt the 2019 season. His addition to the crew was closely anticipated in 2020, and under no circumstances did he disappoint.

The Houston CB solely performed in seven of the Cougars’ eight video games in a truncated 2020 season, however he managed to make an affect. Jones racked up a choose and 4 deflections, in addition to a punt return landing. It was a pleasant introduction to the AAC, however he saved his finest for final in 2021.

Jones had all the time been a flexible playmaker, however he took his recreation to new heights on protection in his redshirt senior season. He amassed 47 tackles, a sort out for loss, 5 interceptions, 13 move deflections, and a pressured fumble in 13 video games performed, whereas additionally including 2 extra kick return and punt return touchdowns every. Extremely, he drew first-team all-conference honors as a return specialist and second-team honors as a CB.

Over his whole profession, Jones stacked up 9 interceptions and 31 move deflections on protection. As a returner, he piled on nearly 3,000 whole return yards and 9 whole touchdowns.

Jones’ NFL Draft ascension

On the floor, the primary difficulty with Jones’ NFL Draft scouting report is how his measurement interprets on the defensive aspect of the ball. That measurement naturally limits him in some conditions. However, he’s proven he can compensate for it considerably along with his athleticism, instincts, and proactivity as a playmaker. He can even transfer between the slot and the boundary, and he supplies wonderful special-teams worth on high of that.

Opinions on Jones could also be extra wide-reaching due to his measurement, and he is probably not a scheme match for some defenses because of this. However as an lively, productive slot cornerback who doubles as an elite returner, he has a variety of enchantment. If somebody likes him sufficient after the Senior Bowl and athletic testing, he might sneak into Day 2 vary.

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