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Chandler Jones, NFL Draft 2012: Mid-Round DE With Measurables

Standing 6'5", 266 lbs, defensive end Chandler Jones out of Syracuse has the measurables NFL scouts like to see out of pass rushers at the next level. During the combine he coupled this already impressive frame with a solid 40 time (4.87 seconds) and an astounding 35" vertical. While Jones was very successful at Syracuse, I'm not so sure he'll be able to do much at the next level based purely on his style of play.

Currently Jones ranks 6th in Mocking the Draft's position rankings, while the National Football Post have him as the 10th ranked defensive end.

There are two schools of thought about Chandler Jones; one prescribes to the notion that he is a fundamentally flawed player who plays far too upright to succeed at the next level, and the other believes that he succeeded at Syracuse in spite of poor form and that with a little nurturing he could become a pass rushing force. When viewed through this lens I lean towards the former, rather than the later. It would likely take a 3rd round at the latest for Atlanta to draft Jones, but I feel that is far too early for him to be taken. Personally, I see him as a 5th round prospect who has some value as a 3rd down pass rusher, but will need a lot of time to develop.

I love his size and length. But I worry about defensive lineman who play upright, lack a great get off burst and struggle to change directions. I don't see him as a big time pass rusher. But if he improves his pad level he could mature into a potential starting option.

National Football Post

Granted, I know 'upright play' sounds like one of those ethereal draft terms that doesn't really seem to matter at the next level, but in this case the critique is completely apt. Watch the below video from Jones v. West Virginia and note how he gets out of his stance and basically stands upright before starting his pass rush.

This isn't something Jones will be able to get away with at the next level. If he is that slow starting his first step opposing offensive tackles will get their feet set and he'll lose almost every battle in the trenches. His issues on field are compounded by a knee injury he sustained mid-season, forcing Jones to miss five games. That injury will be another reason for the Falcons to be wary of Jones; I just can't help but feel there will be better options for the Falcons in terms of mid-round pass rushers.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.