Name: Sidney Jones
Position fit: Cornerback
Stats to know: Jones didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage in 2016.
What he does best:
- Excels at playing press man coverage
- Excellent ball skills; has a great feel for breaking up or intercepting passes while avoiding blatant contact
- Keeps low in his initial back-pedal until his receiver declares his route
- Good recovery burst of speed if beaten off the line in press
- Willing hitter and finished season with 77.5 run-defense grade
- Tremendous footwork and balance allows him to play tight coverage off the line
- Breaks on the ball well in zone coverage
- Effective at cutting off routes in the red zone
- Doesn’t allow his man to score touchdowns
- Scares opposing offensive coordinators, only targeted 48 times (tied for 201st in the country) in the pass-heavy Pac-12
- 7 coverage snaps per reception ranked No. 17 in the draft class
- Not as effective in off coverage as he is tight man coverage
- Needs to get physically stronger
- Can get pushed around at the top of route stems; receivers can separate, particularly on horizontal routes
- Height is good for the position but he has a thin frame
- Missed 11 tackles over the last two seasons
- *torn Achilles at pro day will likely force him to miss his rookie season
Player Comparison: Johnathan Joseph, Houston Texans
Johnathan Joseph had a similar build and man coverage ability as Jones as they both entered the NFL draft. Joseph had a career filled with years of impressive coverage grades and Jones has similar potential.
Bottom line: Jones posted an impressive 86.1 coverage grade in 2016 but his coverage statistics are likely somewhat skewed because teams so often shied away from throwing at him. Jones’s 9.0 cover snaps per target was the fifth-lowest mark among Power-5 cornerbacks in 2016. Impressively, Jones was just one part of a talent-laden secondary at Washington, but he was the one that opposing offensive coordinators avoided on purpose. Jones has the quick feet and excellent balance to play press man coverage at a high level. Jones is at his best in the red zone where he clamps down — he didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage in 2016 and even more impressively hasn’t given up a touchdown in coverage since Week 7 of the 2015 season.