DB Josh Jones, North Carolina St.

6’1” – 220 lbs. – 4.41

Started eight games as a freshman, then became a full-time starter for the 2015 and 2016 seasons before foregoing his final season of eligibility in order to declare for the draft. Tall, well-built player with impressive bulk and length for a pro safety. Plays in a defense which often uses three safeties; in those situations, he frequently lines up over the slot receiver to one side of the field. Also has some traditional deep safety snaps and lines up in the box as more of a traditional linebacker. Covers both in deep zones and in coverage against opposing wide receivers, albeit with what looks like just average speed and explosiveness on tape; strong Combine showing may do wonders for his draft stock. Leggy in his backpedal, but is able to get low and use appropriate balance. When playing in deep zones, does a good job of keeping the play in front of him and taking relatively conservative angles both as help over the top on passing attempts and as a tackler from the secondary on rushing attempts. Can be a little bit slow to arrive when providing support to the sidelines, even if he reads the play correctly. In man coverage, generally gives his opponents generous cushions which minimize his exposure to being beat at the route stem at the cost of taking himself out of position to make many plays on the ball. Lured up by play fakes at times and loses track of receivers. Excellent on-field temperament; physical without being too aggressive. More comfortable when he’s allowed to plant and drive on a spot against a wide receiver working over the middle of the field in more of an enforcer role. Willing hitter who can help to set the tone defensively and intimidate opposing receivers. Also capable of using his length to bring down ballcarriers in the open field. Gives good effort in pursuit and takes reliable angles to opposing runners. Does a pretty good job of using his hands to work through traffic. Has some experience timing rushes from the box as a blitzer. Able to do a little bit of everything on the field, whether it’s manning the deep zones, lining up over receivers in the slot, or helping to defend the run from the box. Athletic testing at the Combine was impressive compared to how fast he looks on tape, perhaps because of his cautious approach. Might go as high as the third round as a trustworthy safety, especially with regard to using form to bring down ballcarriers in space.

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