NFL Draft profile: Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones

Jones went from unknown to national championship hero seemingly overnight before dipping last year. Can he revert back to standout on the pro level?

The Washington Redskins slapped the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins and re-signed Colt McCoy, but what about a third quarterback? We know Robert Griffin III is gone which essentially means the draft. There's a strong possibility general manager selects a young passer in the middle-to-late rounds. Therefore, we'll take a look at some of the potential options with NFL Draft profiles courtesy of fellow Scout publisher and CBS analyst Rob Rang. 

Cardale Jones

Position: Quarterback

College:Ohio State

Height: 6'5"

Weight: 253 lbs.

Jones, known as 12-gauge in Columbus, left school with a season of eligibility remaining and immediately linked up with QB coach George Whitfield in January to begin polishing his raw footwork and develop skills needed to run a pro-style offense.

While Ezekiel Elliott stole the show in the College Football Playoff in the 2014 season, the Buckeyes would not have won it all without the steady play of Jones, who was called upon after J.T. Barrett was injured in the season finale against Michigan. Jones finished 2014 56-for-92 (60.9 percent) for 860 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions, adding 296 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Jones had played just 131 snaps before replacing the injured Barrett in 2014. He took all of the reps with Ohio State's first-team offense in the spring and opened the season as the starter, but was erratic in the regular season before giving the job back to Barrett.

He surprised many when he decided to bypass the NFL, but opened the season as the Buckeyes' starter over Barrett. While leading Ohio State to a 7-0 record, he threw five interceptions against seven touchdowns and was benched in favor of Barrett on Oct. 20.

Jones disappointed through the first seven starts of '15 -- because he looked exactly the same as last season, making the same mistakes and failing to show much improvement as a passer.

How much money did Jones lose by returning to Columbus?

Probably not much. No one can say for sure, but Jones likely wouldn't have been a first rounder last season - not off of three encouraging, but average performances. And his draft projection for the 2016 class might be even tougher to peg, but given his physical traits, he's probably still in the 2nd-to-4th round range.

While an earlier draft pick is obviously better and means more guaranteed money, there isn't a huge drop-off between the 50th selection in the draft ($4.5 million, four-year contract) and the 90th selection ($3.3 million, four-year contract).

So while perception will be that Jones lost money by returning to school, the reality is he looks like the same player we saw in the inaugural College Football Playoffs.

STRENGTHS: There is no questioning Jones' physical tools with his well-built frame, top-shelf arm strength and the mobility to move the pocket or pick up chunk yardage with his legs when needed. Jones has the same cannon and confidence throwing downfield. Levelheaded and calm on the field, playing with the same demeanor no matter how bright the lights. Improved footwork in the pocket to shuffle, slide and climb with his eyes downfield, staring down the gun barrel.

Jones' skill set is ideally suited for a vertical offensive attack, utilizing play action and running the ball between the tackles, which then opens up options on the outside.

WEAKNESSES: Fails to read defenses and locks onto targets. Where he has really struggled is a lack of anticipation and timing. Studying his film, Jones waits for targets to get open before throwing the ball as hard as he can so it arrives before the defender. Questionable decision-making and needs to quicken his eyes and expand his vision. Shows cabin fever, often tucking and running when initial read is taken away. Wasn't asked to identify defensive coverages in college.

He needs refinement with his footwork, internal clock and overall accuracy to all levels of the field. Maturity has been another trouble issue with Jones and his class clown routine won't be tolerated by many NFL head coaches.

COMPARES TO: JaMarcus Russell, ex-Raiders -- Jones is physically impressive with the size, build and arm strength that instantly draws comparisons to Russell, including the mobility to pick up yards with his legs when needed. He can make every throw and showcases precision when he squares his shoulders and follows through with his delivery, but his game lacks sophistication and he's simply extremely raw.

IN OUR VIEW: Jones has a live arm to generate easy velocity anywhere he wants on the field, but his hose lacks consistent direction with hot-cold accuracy downfield - more of a thrower than passer at this point in his development. He doesn't play with anticipation and is still very raw reading coverages, needing extensive work under the hood before he's ready for NFL snaps. Jones is a developmental option whose final draft grade will be determined by his pre-draft process.

Check out the Breaking Burgundy forums for more player profiles and to share your thoughts on the NFL Draft and the Redskins!

Follow Breaking Burgundy on Twitter @breakburgundy and on Facebook and become a subscriber to receive access to premium content and discounted Redskins tickets.

To get instant Redskins notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories