Matt Jones was drafted by the Washington Redskins because he fits the mold of a big, physical, Scot McCloughan-type football player. And the Burgundy and Gold probably knew it would be a good idea to plan for Alfred Morris' departure too. With Morris now in Dallas, Jones is the focus of Washington's ground game entering 2016. Let's put him in the Sophomore Spotlight.
Before the Washington Redskins
Jones attended his home state school of Florida and faced off against tough SEC defenses for three seasons. He never truly owned the Gators' backfield and never attained a 1,000-yard season, but he did average 4.8 yards per rush over 297 carries. His 2013 sophomore campaign was cut short by a torn meniscus in his left knee.
|Year||Games Played||Rushing Yards||Yards per Attempt||Touchdowns||Fumbles|
What the Analysts Said
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
"Has very good athleticism for a big running back and is a physical pile-mover who is difficult to stop for negative yardage. Unfortunately, Jones lacks the instincts and vision to fully maximize his physical tools. Jones could become the physical member of a running-back-by-committee approach, with upside as a third-down option."
Rob Rang, CBSSports.com
"Looks the part with a well-built frame. Shows good power to run through tackles when he keeps his pad level low. Good leg drive and forward lean. Bit of a one-trick pony as a powerful downhill runner. Lacks the preferred top-end speed and isn't particularly nimble to make defenders miss in tight quarters."
Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com
"Jones is a one-cut downhill runner who can pick up yards after contact. However, he has durability and speed issues for the NFL. Jones decided to enter the 2015 NFL Draft rather than return to school. From a family perspective, it may have been the right decision, but from a football standpoint, Jones should have returned for his senior year. He didn't run well at the Combine."
|Games Played||Rushing Yards||Yards per Attempt||Receiving Yards||Touchdowns||Fumbles|
Jones bulldozed his way through defenses in his first NFL preseason, averaging seven yards per tote. He created a lot of buzz with his powerful running style and seemed to validate the hype when he rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns during a Week 2 victory over the St. Louis Rams. However, his year went downhill from there. A rash of fumbles kept Jones from capitalizing on his breakout performance and fell even further on hard times following left guard Shawn Lauvao's season-ending ankle injury. He never gained more than 62 rushing yards in any other game and sat out the final three games of the Redskins' season, including their Wild Card loss to the Packers, because of a lingering hip ailment. Jones did show flashes in the passing game, giving hope to his potential use as a three-down back.
With Morris out of the picture, Jones needs to be the leader of Washington's backfield given the inexperienced depth behind him and Chris Thompson's size limitations. Improving his ball security has been a major point of emphasis this offseason as Jones should exceed the 163 touches he got last year. Like any running back, his production will depend on the effectiveness of the offensive line. Should Washington find the right mix of big men to clear the way, Jones' numbers should surge. He's a capable runner who can complement a potent passing attack very well. Do not expect a Pro Bowl-level season, but potential for a highly productive campaign exists.
Additional Sophomore Spotlights
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