Editor’s Note: As our coverage of the 2016 NFL Draft and its impact on fantasy football continues, we bring you our 2016 Rookie SWOT series. These articles will feature video highlights, combine reviews, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, short-term expectations, long-term expectations and rookie draft advice for over 30 of the best dynasty league prospects from this year’s draft. We’ll follow that up with team-by-team draft reviews because, you know, that’s kind of what we live for.
Make sure you’re ready for your dynasty league rookie draft by staying up on all these articles, checking out our rookie draft guide, rookie rankings, rookie draft cheat sheet and mock draft rooms. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football enthusiasts.
Name: Cardale Jones
Age: 23 years old, 9.29.92
NFL Team: Buffalo Bills
College Team: Ohio State
NFL Draft Pick: Round Four, #139 overall
Video Highlights: College Career Highlights
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Hands: 9 ¾”
Arm Length: 33 ¾”
40-Yard Dash: 4.81
10-Yard Split: 1.68
-Arm strength. Cardale has the strongest arm I’ve seen from a quarterback prospect recently. He can fit the football in tight windows because he can get it there in a quickly. The arm talent is evident on deep outs and crossers. The other point in regards to his arm strength is it’s effortless. Cardale only has to flick his wrist and I even think he could improve in this area with more consistent technique.
-Touch. Very impressed with Jones touch on passes, especially down the field. Devin Smith was a good college receiver, but Jones gave him some great opportunities.
-Feet. The most important thing for a quarterback is his feet. They need to be underneath and comfortable moving around the pocket. Jones has both of these and it’s impressive for a big man. Most of the time he keeps his eyes down the field as he moves around, but sometimes he scrambles a bit early.
-Mental toughness. Despite the turnovers and bad plays Jones made at Ohio State, he bounced back well in big moments. Which is extremely important to transitioning to the NFL level because bad plays will happen. Responding positively is key.
-Runner. Very impressive runner for a big quarterback. He uses both both and athleticism to pick up yardage. Even shows good awareness to make sure he gets the first down as well.
-Vision. Jones displays good field awareness as he scans the defense. I see him looking off defenders and progressing through reads.
-Raw. Jones only started 11 games in college! He even didn’t play all of the snaps within those games. Therefore, he is inconsistent and has many things to work on. Will it ever come all together? Nobody knows, but his lack of experience starting in college is a clear weakness.
-Accuracy. While Cardale has a great arm, he shows inconsistent accuracy. I see good placement away from defenders at times. But other times it’s high, low, or behind.
No immediate opportunity presents itself for Cardale Jones due to Tyrod Taylor and his lack of starting experience.
The only player in Jones’ path is starting Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Who had an incredible year in 2015 passing for 3,035 yards, 20 touchdowns, six interceptions, and a 63.7 completion percentage in only 14 games. Former first round pick EJ Manuel is still on the roster, but that may not last for long. Manuel is in the last year of his rookie deal and I don’t see any way the Bills pick up the team option for 2017.
As stated above, Taylor is the entrenched starter in Buffalo for 2016. He proved enough in 2015 to earn that opportunity.
Things get more dicey when we explore the long term options in Buffalo. Despite a very good 2015 season, Buffalo didn’t extend Taylor’s contract in the offseason and drafted Jones in the fourth round. This may be a little telling of what the Bills brass see for the long term future at quarterback. Taylor is under contract for the next two seasons at dirt cheap prices. Considering Rex Ryan has only been with the Bills for one season, I believe he should be there for at least a few more and will have some influence in this decision, along with GM Doug Whaley.
If Jones becomes the starter in Buffalo, he will have a WR1 in Sammy Watkins and some talented running backs. But the rest of the cupboard is bare besides some speed at wide receiver and Charles Clay. None of the playmakers on the roster I would count on as long term answers.
Despite not having a wide array of weapons, Jones has QB1 upside in fantasy football. He has lots of arm talent, size to withstand pass rush, showed well in big games, makes plays down the field, and can earn some points running the football. It’s the perfect storm for FF potential.
Rookie Draft Advice
Jones is currently the 39th player off the boards in rookie ADP. As long as you don’t have a 2QB or Superflex league, I believe this is a fair place for Jones to get drafted. If you have deep rosters, I would grab Jones either in the fourth round or off waivers. Now, I believe in Jones and love his talent. However, quarterbacks take time to develop, Taylor is in his way and dynasty owners aren’t patient. Therefore, I would look to grab Jones towards the end of the 2016 season either off waivers or in a cheap deal. We’ll know much more about how the Bills feel towards Taylor and Jones next off-season.
Nick can be found on Twitter at @_NickWhalen