Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE
While the ESPN draft analyst doesn't believe that the Georgia outside linebacker will be the first pick, he certainly thinks he'll go in the top five.
After a stellar junior year that drew AP All-American honors at season's end, it seems a foregone conclusion that Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones will enter the 2013 NFL Draft. In the likely event that he does, it would appear as though Jones would be the top Bulldogs prospect in the draft, but some say he may be the nation's top draft prospect.
Among those is ESPN's most iconic draft analyst, Mel Kiper Jr., who said in a conference call on Tuesday that Jones is the No. 1 prospect on his board of prospects, according to Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph:
"He's No. 1 in a year where there's not a lot of elite guys. There's not the quarterback, the running back, the cornerback, the safety. There's a lot of position you don't have the guy at the top, that allows the Jarvis Jones and the Manti Te'o to move up to the top. So he's a top pass rusher. If the medical stuff checks out fine, he's a top-five pick, maybe the No. 1 pick overall. ... I have him No. 1, doesn't mean he'll go No. 1. But certainly in the top five."
That top five will almost certainly feature the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, while a large group of teams are in contention for the other two spots. However, as Kiper noted, Jones has a history of injuries that could make teams wary of selecting the linebacker with an early draft selection.
Particularly, a neck injury suffered by Jones when he was a true freshman with the USC Trojans sidelined him for the remainder of the season and eventually led to his transfer to UGA. He hasn't had neck problems since, but the NFL will want to take a close look and ensure that it won't be a problem in the future.
Georgia's season will conclude with a trip to play Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.