2012 Dallas Cowboys Draft Prospects: OLB

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Chandler Jones,  DE/OLB Syracuse

Nov 26, 2011; Syracuse, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats running back Ralph Abernathy (19) is tackled by Syracuse Orange defensive end Chandler Jones (99) during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

6-5 266 4.87 40

Jones is an underclassman who has good size and speed. He has really been climbing the draft boards lately and seems to have all the intangibles coveted by NFL Teams. He suffered a knee injury during the 2011 season and will need to show that he has fully recovered from it. In the event he has he should be a solid pick in the 3rd to 4th round. He may not be an immediate starter but will definitely be a future star at the next level.

Pass rush: Relies on hustle, vision and strength as a pass rusher. Times the snap well and has a good initial burst off the line. Lacks sustained speed around the corner, however, and will have a hard time beating NFL offensive tackles to the outside. Very long arms and an effective swim move, though he doesn’t use this often enough. Good rip move. Good upper body strength and quick hands to knock away the blocker’s attempts to control him. Good leg drive for the bull rush, though Jones struggles with pad level, at times. Very good vision and effort. Plays to the whistle.

Run defense: Good upper body strength and length to lock-out his opponent. Has at least moderate lateral agility to ride the block to the sideline and keep contain, though he’s a bit stiff in changing directions and has only average speed, overall, for the position. Good vision to locate the football on the draw or QB scramble. Quick to break off his pass rush and pursue downfield. Recognizes the cut block but has only average balance overall to avoid it due to his high-cut frame.

Explosion: Possesses a quick burst off the line which is enhanced by his ability to time the snap count. Does not have the speed to turn the corner consistently. Good upper body strength to drive his opponent into the backfield on the bull rush but lacks true explosiveness to rock them back onto their heels. Is a wrap and drag down tackler more than an explosive hitter than ball-carriers need to fear.

Strength: Flashes upper-body strength to rip past blockers and lower-body strength to stand up to double-teams, but will need to get stronger and play with more leverage to succeed at the next level. Controlled on the line too often by strong-handed blockers. Good strength for the pull-down tackle as the ball-carrier is rushing past him.

Tackling: Good hustle and chase tackler. Goes down the line and gets back to help teammates wrap up ballcarriers downfield, though his limited speed means he can be left in the dust quickly. Long arms and good strength for the drag-down tackle from behind, though he will leave his feet and lunge, on occasion. Is not a quick-twitch athlete who can change directions in small spaces and thus, can be eluded. Relies on his long arms to catch the ball-carrier rather than the agility to corral them.

Intangibles: Suffered a knee injury in the 2011 season opener against Wake Forest. The injury caused Jones to miss five games but was not publicly defined. Team doctors will certainly want to take a closer look at the Combine … Took on more of a leadership role in 2011, taking extra time to help coach up teammates from every defensive position on the team’s scheme and expectations. Athletic bloodlines. Has two brothers — Arthur, a former all-conference DT at Syracuse and currently with the Baltimore Ravens and Jon, who has been the UFC light-heavyweight champ.

–Rob Rang

See the finale of my story on the next page….

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