Dynasty League Football

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Rookie Player Profile: Matt Jones

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Video

Against Kentucky (2014)

Combine Review

Height: 6’2”
Weight: 231 pounds
Hands: 8.625”
Arm Length: 32”
40-Yard Dash: 4.61 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.20 seconds
Vertical: 31.5”
Broad: 112.0”

Strengths

Jones is a big, rugged back. He breaks arm tackles in the hole and he is a load to take down in the open field. His speed is adequate—above average for a back of his size. His measured agility is also impressive for his size, and he has a quick first step on tape. Combined with his size, this makes him a solid short-yardage runner. For a college running back, Jones excels in pass protection. He recognizes his assignment and delivers a blow.

Weaknesses

Jones didn’t catch many passes in college, and he doesn’t profile as a receiving back in the NFL. He won’t be a home run hitter, as he has neither the speed nor open field moves to break through the second level. His measured explosion is well below average, and his on-field acceleration matches. His vision appears sub-par, but that could be a result of playing behind the Gators offensive line.

Jones didn’t dominate in touches or yards for the Gators, and he scored only seven total touchdowns in his final collegiate season. Backfield-mate Kelvin Taylor scored six. Durability is a minor concern. Jones played just five games in 2013 before season-ending knee surgery, and he battled nagging injuries in 2014.

Opportunities

Jones steps into a very good situation. The Redskins spent significant draft capital on him and he has to beat only Silas Redd and Chris Thompson to earn primary backup duties.

Alfred Morris has been the picture of health in his NFL career, and Jay Gruden has stated publicly that Morris will get “the bulk of the carries.” But Jones is one injury away from receiving feature back carries. And given his pass-blocking abilities, the Redskins likely will not hesitate to keep him on the field for three downs. Moreover, 2015 is the final deal of Morris’s rookie contract. If new general manager Scot McCloughan likes what he sees from Jones, they may allow Morris to walk.

Threats

Redd is Jones’s primary competition, and the Redskins’ use of a top-100 pick on Jones indicates a strong belief that management views Redd as just a guy. The biggest uncertainty for Jones is Morris’ long-term status with the team. If the Redskins ink an extension with Morris this offseason, Jones’s value will take a major hit.

Short-term Expectations

While Morris has been healthy to date, injury can strike at any time. If it does, Jones can step in and put up similar numbers (with similarly low reception totals, most likely). Unless that happens, Jones won’t see enough carries to be fantasy relevant, and he likely won’t see enough carries to put a major dent in Morris’ value.

Long-term Expectations

Jones is talented enough to be a multi-year NFL starter. He’ll never be a “wow” guy, but he has borderline top-10 ceiling in the ideal situation. More realistically, he’ll have an opportunity somewhere down the line to start and score enough to be a low-end starter in most leagues.

NFL Comparison

Jones’s best physical comparison is Lorenzo Taliaferro. Both are big, tall runners who have surprising agility and above-average speed for their size. While Jones put up meager production behind a poor line in the SEC, Taliaferro dominated at Coastal Carolina. Both backs get what’s blocked, and both are valuable short-yardage runners.

Rookie Draft Advice

Jones is being drafted, on average, in the middle of the third round in rookie drafts. I see a major tier drop in the middle of the second round, so I would not blame anyone who reached for Jones in the late second.

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Andrew Englebrecht
7 years ago

These are great.

Brian Malone
Reply to  Andrew Englebrecht
7 years ago

Glad you’re enjoying them, Andrew! T

Joe Petraccione
6 years ago

Late 3rd round pick RB…do you go with Matt Jones or Cameron Artis-Payne?

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