.NET Draft Spotlight: CB Adam "Pac Man" Jones

While our draft guru, Ryan Rigmaiden has been focusing on the biggest need on the Seahawks roster, the defensive ends, I decided to focus on the deep patrol and started with an outstanding group of corners that the Hawks will be looking at. Up first is West Virginia CB Adam "Pac Man" Jones.

When the Seattle Seahawks lost CB Ken Lucas to the Carolina Panthers in free agency a hole opened up opposite third-year corner Marcus Trufant. President Tim Ruskell went out and got a cap-friendly replacement when they inked former Denver CB Kelly Herndon to a five-year $15 million contract in mid-March. While Ruskell continues to pursue free agent CB Andre Dyson, the Hawks may look into drafting a corner on day one.

The Hawks have had success with second round DBs in the draft the last few years taking Lucas with the ninth pick in the second round in 2001 and S Ken Hamlin with the 10th selection in round two in 2003. The Hawks will likely take the best player available (BPA) with the 23rd overall selection in the first round and then focus on needs later in the draft.

Either way, they will probably look to take two corners in the upcoming draft and the hope is they will get them sometime on day one.

The cornerback position is one that has evolved over the last ten years. Quick and smallish receivers were en vogue in the early and mid-nineties. So defenses turned to quicker and smaller corners to stay with them. Hip turn and quickness were coveted more than speed and more often than not, the corners were not counted on much in run support. Well those are days of a bygone era.

Today corners are usually around six feet tall and weigh anywhere from 190 to 205 pounds. They are expected to force the corner when they come up in run support and be sure tackles, as well as being able to turn and run with some of the best athletes in the league.

Below is arguably the number one corner prospect in the draft this season...

1. Adam Jones, CB West Virginia
5'9", 185 4.41 (40 time)

NFL Comparison – Antoine Winfield, Minnesota

Overview-

Jones was the best player on a solid Mountaineer defense. He led the team with 76 tackles and recorded two sacks and three interceptions including 12 passes defensed. Teams rarely threw his way even though he matched up against the opposition's best wideout. He is also a standout punt and kickoff returner averaging 23.4 yards on 26 kickoff returns and 14.6 yards on 21 punt returns that also included one for a touchdown.

Against the Pass-

As nice as it is to have corners that can play the run, first and foremost, their job is to shut down wideouts. There was no one better in the country than Jones in 2004. Playing in the Big East, prior to last season, Jones faced the best that the University of Miami and Virginia Tech could throw at him. His hip turn is the best in the draft and his recovery speed (4.41) is more than enough. He shows good route recognition skills and when the ball is in the air he can break on it and make a play. Even though he lacks ideal height, probably his only liability, he is strong and rarely gets out-muscled by bigger wide receivers. He may gamble a bit too much, something he won't get away with in the NFL, but with a good secondary coach that can easily be remedied. Even when he does get beat, his recovery speed is exceptional and he can mask most of his mistakes.

Playing the run-

Jones is a sure tackler. He is tough and has a nose for the ball that few corners have. He plays with a mean streak, attacking the line when he recognizes a running play to his side. He abuses ball carriers with his compact body and he always seems to be around the ball.

Roster impact on Seattle-

Jones is a difference maker in the secondary and on special teams. Using his quickness and athleticism he has the ability to effect field position, something the Hawks have been lacking over the last three seasons. Jones would be a welcomed addition to Seattle's defensive backfield but he will be long gone by the time the Hawks select a player.

Draft Projection-

Top 10. Jones will probably go to either Tennessee (6th selection) or Washington (9th spot).

Final Analysis-

Jones' abilities on special teams as well as in the deep patrol are what really set him apart from the other players at his position. He is the kind of difference-maker that teams drool over and you could see some maneuvering on draft day to get into position to select this rare talent. Jones will start right away for whoever takes him and after a few weeks he will begin playing at a very high level.

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.


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