When healthy, Matt Jones gets into the holes with good urgency and has the low center of gravity to run at a proper pad level when taking plays to the outside. He is better served as a one-cut runner, but he demonstrates adequate lateral agility and slide to redirect. He has good open field acceleration and the body flexibility to extend and pluck the ball outside his frame.
In 2014, his low center of gravity and quick feet allowed him to drive hard in attempts to turn the corner and reach top acceleration while attacking the second level. He has good initial quickness and a burst coming out of his stance. He is quick out of his plant and hits the perimeter with good balance.
For a player of his size and muscular build, you would expect him to be more physical in attempts to break tackles. He can avoid tacklers turning the corner with his speed, but does not have the leg drive to consistently break tackles when running in tight quarters. He runs at a better pad level turning the corner and can run through arm tackles there, but when he has to take the ball up the middle, he lacks the strength to bleed extra yardage.
Jones just needs to drop his shoulder and hit it up with more power to gain additional yardage upon initial contact, but in addition to his knee issues, a shoulder injury late in the 2014 season kept him on the sidelines for the Birmingham Bowl.
When Jones locates the holes, he attacks them with good urgency. He has the hip snap to redirect and the pad level to run low to the ground. He demonstrates quick plant agility and the burst to run away from defenders when turning the corner. He gets to top speed nicely and has the sustained speed to pull away and take the ball to the house. He just shows that extra gear needed to finish his runs consistently.
While Jones can elude with his burst and explosion, he lacks an array of moves or hip wiggle to be considered slippery with the ball in his hands. He is more of a one-cut runner who is best when running straight-line along the perimeter. He can make the slower defenders miss with his speed, but needs to show more shake-&-bake moves to set up the opponent. He can avoid the perimeter defenders with his explosive second gear, but when he gets too high in his stance, he can’t make the jump cuts at the hole.
NFL Scouting Combine measurables
6-2/231 (4.61 forty)
32-inch arm length
8 5/8-inch hands
31.5-inch vertical jump
112-inch broad jump
4.20 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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