The Philadelphia Eagles took a risk and selected the injured Sidney Jones in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles cornerback, I reached out to SB Nation's Washington site: UW Dawg Pound. Huskies writer Chris Landon was kind enough to answer my questions about Jones.
1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?
Sidney Jones came to UW as a late add to Chris Petersen's first signing class. It was a hastily assembled class given that many of Steve Sarkisian's recruits did not keep their commitment. Jones, a three-star DB, had been committed to Utah. Most Husky fans hadn't heard of him when he signed and didn't have much in the way of expectations.
That all changed once Jones showed up in camp. Despite not having any physical traits that one would call "elite", he quickly showed that he wasn't just the best young corner in his class but he might be the best corner on the team (Marcus Peters included). He immediately became a starter as a true freshman and, with Peters on the other side, was tested early and often. As he showed success - and there was a lot of it - teams started to look away from him. By the end of his freshman year, Jones had racked up a couple of INTs, 5 PBUs and 61 tackles. With that kind of productivity under his belt, opposing offensive coordinators pretty much quit testing Jones in his second year. He still managed to pick off four passes and break up another 10. By his junior year, Jones' side of the field was pretty much untested. He surrendered not a single TD pass in a conference that included bombers like Luke Falk, Sam Darnold and Davis Webb.
2) What are his strengths?
Jones was remarkably strong in the fundamentals even before arriving at UW - strange in a world where high school CBs tend to excel based on physical traits (see Adoree Jackson). He only became more technically skilled at UW. He is a press-first CB who wins at the line not through strength but understanding what a receiver is trying to do and taking it away. When he disrupts the read between QB and WR, he also shows great instincts on where the ball is going and how to affect it. Underlying all of this is a quiet, humble, work-first nature.
3) What are his weaknesses?
Jones is not the biggest or strongest player that you've ever seen, even for a CB. He also is not lightning fast. He doesn't get beat often, but when he does he can't always close the gap with the faster receivers. Obviously, the injury he suffered in the offseason - his only major injury in college - is a severe one. How he recovers remains to be seen.
4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?
I don't even feel remotely homerish in saying that Jones was the best CB in the draft before his injury - and I include his partner in crime and workout warrior colleague Kevin King in that assessment. That he went in the second round even with a major achilles injury feels right and, assuming Philly's medical staff is top notch could turn out to be a huge value. Jones is a better young CB than either Desmond Trufant or Marcus Peters were at this stage of their career. Both of them were pro bowlers with Peters even winning defensive rookies of the year.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
Jones has the opportunity, even with the injury, to be a lock-down corner in a league that features a lot of bigger receivers. I expect that he'll recover pretty well and challenge for a starting role by his second year. Assuming that he bounces back to form, I think expecting Marcus Peters like production is not out of the question. I worry that he might not hold up as well in run support as he did in college, but that might be an issue for most young CBs.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
Really great kid - hardworking, earnest, focused. He's humble and well thought of in the Husky community.