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NFL Draft Profile: Cardale Jones, quarterback, Ohio State University

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What a difference a year makes. Cardale Jones went from a potential first round prospect with an enticing combination of size and strength, to an afterthought, likely to land in the second half of the draft.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Cardale Jones had an up-and-down career at Ohio State that saw him quarterback the Buckeyes to a National Championship win in the 2014 season. Jones decided to stay in college for another year but has only seen his draft stock fall since; he was benched mid-season in 2015 in favor of J.T. Barrett and now is projected to be a Day 3 draft pick. The Bengals likely won't be drafting a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft, but let's take a look at what Jones has to offer.

Cardale Jones

Ht: 6’5"

Wt: 253 lbs

Arm length: 33 3/4

Hands: 9 3/4

College: Ohio State University

Class: Junior

40 Dash: 4.81

Vert: 36.0"

NFL comparisons:

College Stats:

G Att Cmp % Yd TD INT Rating
2013 3 2 1 50.0% 3 0 0 62.6
2014 10 92 56 60.9% 860 7 2 160.2
2015 10 176 110 62.5% 1460 8 5 141.5

Important Notes:

Before the 2014 college football season, if anybody had ever heard of Cardale Jones, it was because of his infamous tweet.

The next time we heard of Jones was at the end of the 2014 season, when Ohio State’s first string quarterback Braxton Miller and second string quarterback J.T. Barrett were both lost to the season with injuries. All Jones did was step in and lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship victory over Wisconsin, a semi-final playoff victory over top seeded Alabama, and a championship victory over Oregon. After that electrifying run, some speculated Jones should enter the NFL draft as a possible first round pick. A year later the buzz around Jones has fizzled, and he’s projected as a middle or late round project.

Scouting Report Consensus - What to like:

  • Great size for a pocket passer
  • Powerful, live arm with natural throwing ability
  • Has enough speed to escape the pocket
  • Big size makes it difficult to bring him down
  • Can throw a very nice deep ball

Scouting Report Consensus - What to not like:

  • Lack of experience – only 270 career pass attempts
  • Questions about immaturity and intelligence
  • Benched for J.T. Barrett midway through his last season
  • Issues with accuracy
  • Hasn’t shown ability to go through progressions

Projected Round:

Round 4 - 7

Conclusion:

Jones’s size and arm strength give him a very high ceiling, but his lack of experience and current ability to read progressions and consistently hit short to mid-range targets give him a very low floor.

Jones will likely need a year or two before he could potentially be productive in an NFL game. His best fit would be as a third quarterback on a team who could store him on their 53 man roster for a while, as his upside would probably make him too big of a risk to try to stash on a practice squad. So a team who normally carries three quarterbacks, or a team with a great, entrenched starter who never gets injured, would be ideal landing spots.

One year ago, Jones was a popular pick among Bengals’ fans as a Dalton replacement, since Dalton was coming off of poor 2014 season, and we had no idea how good or bad McCarron was. Today, Jones is off the radar for Bengals’ fans, and likely the Bengals, as he would be a third quarterback on a team that already has two better options.