Of the Bengals fans (myself included) who don't want to see a wide receiver selected in the first round, many have come to a consensus that selecting a defensive tackle would be a wise idea. And at the defensive tackle position, Mississippi State's Chris Jones is about as good as it gets. Jones has gained a lot of steam in the draft, and he now projects as high as a first round prospect. He'd be a decent fit in Cincinnati if the Bengals were to go defensive tackle in the first or second rounds. And, Jones recently visited with the team, so the interest is there.
Weight: 310 lbs
Arm length: 34 1/2
Hands: 10 3/4
College: Mississippi State
40 dash: 5.03
Bench press: 26 reps
Vert jump: 24.5"
Broad jump: 106.0"
3 cone: 7.44
20 yard shuttle: 4.62
Jones compared to other defensive tackles, per Mock Draftable
Chris Jones received plenty of unwanted attention during and around the time of the combine. The defensive tackle was arrested for driving with a suspended license and also had a serious wardrobe malfunction while running the 40-yard dash. As of recently, however, Jones' draft stock has seemingly soared, with those two minor incidents in the past.
Scouting Report Consensus - What to like
- Elite strength and length
- Quick hands and feet
- Good at splitting double-teams
- Great pass-rusher
- Versatile; can play DT or DE in a 4-3
Scouting Report Consensus - What not to like
- Extremely inconsistent
- Doesn't give his best effort on every play
- Will be hard to improve pad level at 6-foot-6
- Lacks burst off the line, not great at changing direction
- Football instincts still very much a work in progress
Late Round 1-Round 2
Chris Jones is a high risk, high reward prospect. Most teams don't like taking chances in the first round, so Jones could fall to Round 2 under certain circumstances, especially considering how loaded this year's Draft class is at the defensive tackle position. While the Bengals have showed interest in the defensive tackle (Paul Guenther worked him out at Mississippi State's Pro Day) and as mentioned above, he visited Cincinnati this week, that doesn't necessarily mean the Bengals are ready to draft him in the first round. One of my biggest questions with Jones is where he would fit in the Bengals' defense. He's definitely not a pure nose tackle; in fact, he's more of a pass-rusher than a run-stuffer. Jones' size complements Atkins' size well, but his skillset does not match up with what the Bengals need opposite Atkins.
Furthermore, while Jones displays rare athleticism for a defensive tackle, his lack of consistency and tendency not to give his full effort on every play is concerning, especially for a prospect projected so early in the draft. The Bengals have tried taking prospects with great measurables but problems with inconsistency in the past (i.e. Margus Hunt and Will Clarke), and while I'm not ready to write either player off, it's worth noting that neither player has made an impact in Cincinnati thus far in their respective careers.
If Jones were on the board in the first round, I'd likely pass. It's nothing against Jones; I just don't see how he would fit into Cincinnati's scheme. If the Bengals were to take him, however, I wouldn't have a problem with the selection. Cincinnati clearly knows what it's doing, and if the Bengals believe Jones can be a key player on the defensive line rotation, I can get on board. Even if Jones is available in the second round, I'd definitely hesitate. Work ethic concerns are some of the hardest problems to shake during Draft season. For Jones' sake, I hope he can overcome the knocks and appreciate a long, successful career. But if I were the Bengals, I'd likely pass on the interior defender.