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CONTENT

Post Draft Analysis
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NFL.COM Draft Analysis
NFL Draft Bible Analysis (paid subscription)
Pro Football Focus Draft Analysis (paid subscription)
Pro Football Network (Tony Pauline) Analysis
Bleacher Report Analysis

 

POST DRAFT ANALYSIS

Yahoo! Sports (Eric Edholm) *
Intangibles are likely the attraction here, as Jones checks those boxes in dark ink. He’s not big nor all that forceful, but he plays full-tilt and can man both safety spots when healthy. Jones has been banged up quite a bit, and the playmaking ability appears to be lacking, but he’s a team-first guy with good special teams skill as well.
Draft Grade: C

Walter Football *
Yuck! I had Brandon Jones in the sixth round of my 2020 NFL Mock Draft, so this is a major reach. I imagine the Dolphins are doing this after being salty after missing out on all the second-day safeties. I get it, but they're undergoing a two-year rebuilding process. There was no need to reach for an undersized safety like this, despite the major need.
Draft Grade: O'BRIAN

Pro Football Focus *
After missing out on several of the top safeties that were available earlier on Day 2, the Dolphins picked up Brandon Jones — who was 182nd on the PFF Draft Board — to help fill that void. Yikes. Whenever he was playing free safety, Jones was a problem for the Texas defense as he was exposed far more than he should have been. He might be a better option for slot corner than deep safety in Miami’s defense.

ESPN (Mel Kiper Jr.) *
Love the versatility of Brandon Jones. He did a lot during his career at Texas. You think about this past season; had 64 solos of the 86 tackles, which led that Longhorn defense. Had 4.5 tackles for loss, broke up four tackles, had couple interceptions, forced a fumble. What I really like is he can play high, can play in the slot. That’s what really got my attention this past season was his ability to cover out of the slot. That’s critical in the NFL. Defensive coordinators love safeties who can do that and provide that defensive versatility.

CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) *
Super-chippy, safety/cornerback hybrid who really flies around. Small frame. Gets overwhelmed against the run. Good, not great fluidity and speed. Another defensive prospect for Miami. Just way early.
Grade D+

Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) *
The Dolphins had a major secondary void at safety after cutting Reshad Jones, so they get another Jones to play with new cornerback Byron Jones and first-round rookie nickel back Noah Igbinoghene. This Jones (5-11, 198 pounds) is a good run-stopping, rangy player, but he needs to improve to be consistent in coverage.
Grade: C

NFL.com (Chad Reuter) *
Jones meets a major need for the Dolphins, as their depth at safety was severely lacking. He wasn't able to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine because of a shoulder injury, which might have hurt him a bit, but he presents enough athleticism, intelligence and toughness to be a long-time starter.

Pro Football Network (Tony Pauline) *
Brandon Jones is a safety I’ve ranked highly the past three years and he takes his game to Miami. He’s a hard-hitting defensive back with solid size and better than average speed. He has potential at both free and strong safety.

Pro Football Network (Andrew DiCecco) *
Dolphins continue to revamp their secondary, taking Texas safety Brandon Jones a round earlier than I projected. Jones plays bigger than his size would indicate and offers deep cover skills, but likely won’t supplant Eric Rowe or Adrian Colbert in his first year.

Brian Flores (Head Coach) *
“It’s his whole game. He’s a good football player. He’s smart, he tackles, he covers, he can play on (special) teams….The more that we got to spend time – they showed that thing about him watching every team’s (defensive plays). He’s a really good football player and an all-around football player … this coaching staff is always looking for.I’d say first and foremost, he’s a good player. I don’t want guys to feel like if they just show up and show us that they watch a lot of tape, that we are going to draft them. That’s certainly not the case. This is a guy who is a guy who is smart and he communicates, and that’s obviously an important part of the game. He can run, he tackles, he does a lot of good things physically. While that was impressive, what we saw on the field was the lion share of the evaluation we made.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jones, three-year starter and a team captain in 2019, is an above-average tackler who is active in run support and chases with excellent effort. He plays bigger than his size and looks to separate receivers from the ball in coverage. He has enough speed to cover a deep half. He doesn't have the playing speed or the instincts of a true center fielder. He's opportunistic, but he's not a ball hawk. He has short arms and small hands. He's a fearless punt returner who averaged 11.5 yards per punt return. He underwent shoulder surgery following the 2019 season. -- April 2020

Pre-Draft Analysis
Jones is an excellent tackler who is active in run support and chases with effort. He plays bigger than his size and looks to separate receivers from the ball in coverage. He doesn't have the playing speed or the instincts of a true center fielder. Jones is opportunistic but not a ball hawk. He's a fearless punt returner who averaged 10.8 yards per punt return. -- Steve Muench

 

Player Bio

Jones submitted a request for feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee last year and said he was happy with the result. He decided to return to Austin for his senior year, though, because of the team's potential as a championship contender. Jones picked up second-team All-Big 12 notice in 2019 as a 12-game starter (86 tackles, 4.5 for loss, one sack, two interceptions, four pass breakups). A shoulder injury limited him to minimal play in the team's bowl game. He had garnered honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in 2018 (70 tackles, 5.5 for loss, two interceptions in 10 starts) despite missing time with head and ankle injuries. He had started 12 games the previous year, recording 61 tackles, four for loss, and breaking up two passes. The former top-50 national prospect from Nacogdoches, Texas, started one game as a true freshman in 2016 (16 tackles, one safety, two blocked kicks in 12 games). Jones' father, Bert, played football at Stephen F. Austin.

Analysis

  • Draft Projection - Round 4

Overview

He's got a thumper's heart but doesn't have the frame to carry the pop necessary to handle that role. While Jones played boundary, field, and nickel safety position at Texas, he'll likely be pegged as a two-deep or single-high free safety due to man coverage limitations but above-average speed. He plays with good urgency and has soft hands, but just average instincts, which limited his ball production. He could get pushed up a round if he's a big tester. He has third-safety potential and offers early help on special teams.

Strengths

  • Played all three safety positions for the defense
  • Attacking demeanor and wants to be in the action
  • Will play with pain
  • Motor to pursue ball-carriers from across the field
  • Displays agility and reactive athleticism as open-field tackler
  • Alters pursuit angles when needed
  • Speed/range to play over the top
  • Runs with deep cover targets and looks for the football
  • Can step into early role on kick/punt cover teams

Weaknesses

  • Can be exploited in man coverage
  • Needs to play with better route anticipation
  • Average response time and lateral burst at break points
  • Very few pass breakups during his career
  • Instincts are just average
  • Could have issues handling big targets on jump balls
  • Doesn't have size to stop runs in their tracks
  • Can be a little slow to read and react to run from single-high

 

BRANDON JONES | Texas | FS | #19 | SR | 5111 | 198 | 0868 | 3018 | 7448 |
4.49e | Nacogdoches, TX | Nacogdoches HS | 04.02.98 | NIC | 7.2/8.8 | Rd4

Overview:
Blessed with prototypical size and speed that NFL teams covet at the safety position, Jones could be in the mix for first round consideration. He showed plenty of grit and
toughness last season, playing through a high ankle sprain for most of the season, while flashing his catlike quickness and ability to cover a tremendous amount of ground. The ankle
eventually required surgery in February of 2019 and limited him in spring. His aggressiveness is a plus, as Jones has shown the propensity to come up with a handful of momentum-changing
plays. In addition, his experience and maturity are two traits that evaluators are going to greatly appreciate. Jones is a high character person on and off the field-- or as Texas head coach Tom Herman puts it, “A Marry-your-daughter kind of guy.” A four-star member of Charlie Strong’s final recruiting class at Texas, Jones mostly made his mark on special teams as a freshman. Coming out of Todd Orlando’s defense is also another feather in his cap, considering the draft picks he has produced in his days at Texas as well as in Houston. While his play can be streaky, with Jones taking his fair share of risks, his experience and maturity have seemed to win out, helping to limit some of his mistakes. He’ll need to continue to hone in some of his aggressiveness, which shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a negative, as he makes plenty of momentum changing plays to make up for his misses. Jones sat out games against Tulsa and West
Virginia in 2018 due to an ankle injury and sat out the second half of another game due to a head injury, he also had surgery to repair a torn labrum following his 2019 campaign and was
unable to workout at the combine. His ability to play in the box or centerfielder will endear him to teams and his versatility certainly bodes well for his stock but durability will be a concern.

Background:
Son of Sarah and Bert Jones. Father played football at Stephen F. Austin from 1986-88. Coached by Bobby Reyes at Nacogdoches High School. All-America and two-time all-state
and all-district honoree. Selected to participate in the 2016 Under Armour All-America Game. Helped Nacogdoches to a 7-4 overall record, including a 3-2 district mark, with an appearance
in the 4A Division I bi-district playoffs in 2013; also competed in track and field (100m, 4x100m, 4x200m) at Nacogdoches. Ran anchor for the 4x200m team that finished third in the UIL 4A
State Championships in 2014. Sport Management major at Texas.

Career:
Fourth-year defensive back who has played in 42 career games with 31 starts. Recorded 232 tackles at Texas, 14 for loss. Had 3 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced
fumbles. Also returned 14 punts for the Longhorns and averaged 11.5 yards a return.

Q&A:
How did you prepare for the combine? I had to get my labrum repaired (in shoulder) about seven weeks ago, so I’m not able to do anything at the combine. I’m here to interview and do
the medical stuff. The thing I did was try to grow the mental side of the game. I watched film of all 32 teams, created a binder with games I watched, probably six or seven hours a day, watching three or four games, growing from that standpoint. I like to build my game anyway I can, and that was the only thing I could do because I couldn’t do anything physically.

Q&A:
So you watched every play of defense for all 32 teams in the 2019 season? That was the plan. At first the plan was to watch every single play, but that took a super, super long time I
wanted to be able to get this binder done by the time I got to the combine. So I ended up watching three to four games per team, depending on snaps. Some teams had 79 snaps some teams
50 snaps in a game. It was tough. It took a long time because I didn’t know the exact coverage they were in. So I had to just guess based off what I saw from the safeties.

Q&A:
What has been the reaction of teams? It’s a different trend. They said it’s something they’ve never seen before. I kind of have a different responsibility. A lot of guys have to focus on running fast and lifting weight. All I could do was rehab.

 

PROS

CONS

COMPARABLES

SNAPS BY ALIGNMENT

NFL COMPARISON: Patrick Chung

 

Brandon Jones, S

Career Snapshot:
Three-year starter who earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors and made 86 tackles (4.5 for loss) with two interceptions and four pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 70 tackles (5.5 for loss) with two INTs as a junior.

Positives:
Hard-hitting safety who shows ball skills between the numbers. Strong, possesses outstanding size and defeats blocks to get to the action. Solid run defender who is forceful up the field and plays physical football. Efficient, keeps the action in front of him and takes proper angles to the play. Explodes into ball carriers, shows himself to be a big hitter and forces turnovers. Displays solid ball skills facing the action. Very effective between the numbers.

Negatives:
Displays limited quickness and plays to one speed. Lacks explosive closing burst. Occasionally late to pick up assignments, which leads to blown coverages.

Analysis:
Jones has been a productive safety the past three years after he caught my eye as a sophomore at Texas. He possesses range limitations, but he’s a traditional strong safety who can also line up in a zone system.

 

S Brandon Jones, Texas

STRENGTHS

—Four-year contributor at Texas who played everywhere from special teams to strong safety to lining up a ton in slot coverage during his senior season.
—Explosive, athletic safety who could play anywhere in an NFL secondary.
—Good, reliable, powerful tackler who made his name on special teams as a gunner.
—Showed his coverage chops in 2019 when asked to lock up in man coverage while playing from the nickel position.
—Intriguing height/weight/speed player who has coverage skills to make an immediate NFL impact as a cornerback, safety or nickel defender.

WEAKNESSES

—Missed the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine because of injuries.
—Doesn't have a natural position and may be in for a long developmental process.
—Lacks an elite trait that you fall in love with.
—Bounced off runners as a tackler and doesn't always have natural wrap-up skills.

OVERALL

Jones is an exciting prospect from an athletic standpoint, but he needs time to develop once he finds a home at one position. Texas moved him all over the defense, which may have been to his detriment. Jones' injury in the predraft circuit also didn't help with no pro days or workouts, but we like his chances to eventually break into a safety rotation.

GRADE: 72

PRO COMPARISON: Devin McCourty/Jessie Bates III

 

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