The latest stop on Chip Kelly's cross-country pro day tour is the University of Connecticut. The Eagles coach (along with Ed Marynowitz, Bill Davis, and Tom Donahoe) was spotted watching UConn's top 2015 NFL Draft prospects. One name stands out the most.
Byron Jones, CB
Jones is a 22-year-old cornerback who measures in at 6-1, 199 pounds. The redshirt senior finished his four-year playing career with 222 tackles, eight interceptions, and 21 passes defensed. According to Steve Palazzolo, opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 26.3 when targeting Jones. That's pretty impressive.
Even more impressive was the performance Jones had at the 2015 NFL Combine. Jones registered a broad jump of 12'3, which broke an NFL record by seven inches. In fact, Jones' broad jump is believed to be one inch greater than the world record. Jones' 44.5 inch vertical jump only finished half an inch short of the NFL record. Here's his insane spider graph:
Jones seems to fit exactly what the Eagles like in their cornerbacks. He has great size, he's long, and he's athletic. Along with being a team captain, he's also reportedly a high character guy so Chip Kelly will love that. Philadelphia addressed the cornerback position in free agency by signing Byron Maxwell but the team still has a future need at the position.
CBS Sports currently projects Jones to be a second-round pick. Here's a scouting report on him via NFL.com.
"Strengths - Extremely smart and instinctive on the field. Shows above-average anticipation of routes. Is able to sniff out rub routes and works to avoid them. Flashes recovery speed downfield and gets head around to find ball and make a play on it. Uses instincts and adequate closing burst to disrupt the catch. Generally reliable tackler. Team captain and leader on the field and in the locker room. Scouts say he's willing to play hurt and inspires his teammates.
Weaknesses - Plays with high center of gravity. Has difficulty gearing down quickly and changing directions. Doesn't always play with feet under him. Will lose balance and footing too often. Not a quick-twitch athlete. Feet show noticeable stall before firing forward out of backpedal. Willing to tackle but not a physical player. Suffered season-ending shoulder injury in seventh game of 2014 season.
Bottom Line - Instinctive cornerback with good size and adequate speed. Has the ball skills and anticipation needed for the position. Jones' balance and overall athleticism could be a concern in man coverage and his season-ending shoulder injury will need to be examined. He would be an interesting free safety prospect with his instincts, but might lack the physicality for the position."
Other players at UConn's pro days include: WR Geremy Davis, DE Angelo Pruitt, C Alex Mateas.