Prospect Preview: Christian Jones ILB Florida State

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By Draft Lead Philip Arnold @PhilipArnold20

Christian Jones Florida State Inside Linebacker

(Steve Mitchell/ USA Today Sports)

6-3 232 lbs. Senior

95 Tackles 7 TFL, 1 QBH. Was a starter in all 14 games of 2012. Led Florida State’s’ defense in 2012 in tackles.

Game Notes vs. Clemson  7 Tackles

  • This definitely wasn’t his best game of the year, but turned on a bit in the second half.
  • Against the run: Was weak at the point of attack. Let blockers get into him, stopping his feet and getting pushed back. Did beat cuts blocks a few times with his hands and footwork.
  • Man Coverage: Was definitely the strong point of his game. Was very impressed in his footwork, range and hips in man coverage. His ball skills stood out also. Made a couple nice plays when ball was in the air.
  • Zone Coverage: Too much hopping around. Didn’t get enough depth in his drops and is backpedal stood straight up.
  • Questioned where his eyes were at times in play action. The read option play action froze him a few times and had him standing flat footed.
  • Play that stood out: Man to Man coverage with the number 3 receiver in the slot (Sammy Watkins) on 3 Down and 9. Sammy ran a seam route, he ran with him the whole way and made a great play on the ball.

Game Notes vs. NC State 14 Tackles

  • After watching this game, his range in man coverage and ball skills stood out again.
  • Against the run: Did a much better job at point of attack using his hands and getting off blocks. Good scrapes and angles on flow away. When he saw an open gap he filled it.
  • Man Coverage: Once again a point of his game that really sticks out. How he opens his hips and stays on his guy really impressed me. Also his ability to cover for long once the play breaks down was nice to see. Ran with a wheel very nicely.
  • Zone Coverage: Noticed he was high in his backpedal and had his eyes were on the backfield and lost the man in his zone.
  • Play that stood out: 2 Down and 1, NC State runs a Fullback iso at him. He does a great job taking the FB head on blowing him back into the RB, keeping an arm free and making a TFL.

Game Notes vs. Nothern Illinois, Duke & Georgia Tech

  • WOW his closing speed, athleticism and range are to die for at the Middle Linebacker position. Excited to see what this guy runs at the Combine next year.
  • Against the run: On run to him I saw a much better job at the point of attack than the other games I took note of. Was much more active with his hands instead of letting blockers get into him. On run away he did an exceptional job of filling the open gaps and making some nice run down tackles in the backfield. He can beat potential blockers with his speed and then takes good angles at the ball carrier. Also got his hands on a down block nicely waiting for the pitch man.
  • Man Coverage: Once again nothing but good things. Hips, Footwork and ball skills were all right on. Georgia Tech got him on a wheel route, the same one he covered nicely against NC State. The RB was a bit faster.
  • Zone Coverage: Didn’t see much zone coverage in these games.

What he does well

Jones has unbelievable athleticism and speed at the inside linebacker position. Florida State runs a 4-2-5/4-3 defense and he fits the role perfectly. His athleticism in coverage reminds me a lot of Arthur Brown Jr. from last season. In man coverage, Jones has great footwork, good hip rotation and flexibility and when the ball is at the target made some really nice plays. Against the run his closing speed on ball carriers is also very nice. When Jones sees an open gap he fills it quickly and can run down carriers in the backfield.

What he needs to improve

I would like to see Jones be a bit more aggressive at the point of attack. He seems to let blockers get their hands into him and he stops hes feet often with lead blockers. In zone coverage he tends to hop around or stand straight up in his backpedal causing him to not gain enough depth allowing throws to be hit behind him and where he should have been. Didn’t show much ability in pass rush, but Florida State didn’t use him much at in blitzes.

Top Matchups 

10/19 at Clemson

10/26 vs. NC State

11/2 vs. Miami

11/30 at. Florida

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