After a college career fraught with concerns for his spinal health, Jarvis Jones was recently completely medically cleared to play in the NFL by a leading orthopedist. The undersized Jones left USC to play his final two years at Georgia after USC doctors refused to medically clear him, and went on to have stellar sophomore and junior seasons for the Bulldogs. The consensus All-American led the nation in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles in 2012.
Tale of the Tape
Weight: 245 lbs.
40 time: 4.70 (projected, DNP at NFL Combine)
How did Jones end up at Georgia?
Jarvis was very highly recruited out of Columbus Carver, a major feeder high school for D1 programs nationwide. He was a consensus top 5 defensive player in the nation in his recruiting class and took official visits to Southern Cal, Georgia, Florida, LSU and Texas. He reportedly had it narrowed to Georgia, LSU, and Southern Cal. He chose Southern Cal and started as a Freshman, before spraining his neck against Oregon.
Southern Cal wouldn’t medically clear him to play, so he asked for his release, got it and decided to come to Athens, primarily because he was tight with Aaron Murray and (now) Cincinnati tight end Orson Charles.
What did he mean to the Georgia football program?
So much. I mean here’s a guy that single handedly kept Georgia from losing the Missouri game. He is seen as the most recent, along with Alec Ogletree, in a long line of defensive stars from Georgia. To put it very simply, without Jones coming to Georgia, it is unlikely the Dawgs play in either of the last two SEC Championship games.
What are his strengths?
Speed and ability to track the play. You have to commit two guys to blocking him when he rushes, and you have to be very good at disguising blocking schemes on run plays to keep him out of the play. His ability learn and adapt over the course of a game and season is impressive.
What are his weaknesses?
He is probably as big as he needs to be, so he’ll be giving up some size once he moves up. Because he relies on his quickness to make plays, he can get tricked out of position with well disguised play action plays. His injury history will be a concern for some teams.
With 13.5 sacks in 2011, does he have the complete arsenal to rush the passer consistently in the NFL?
Lord yes. He is strong enough to bull rush, quick enough to come off the edge or from a blitz package and versatile enough in coverage that teams have to specially account for him in passing situations. He also has strong technique to move off blockers and pursue, and the speed to make all but the very quickest QBs have to account for his presence when he does so.
How do you project him at the next level?
Unless his neck thing causes him problems, he is a multiple pro-bowler type who has hall of fame potential. He is just that kind of talent. Think Derrick Thomas.