An emerging trend among collegiate edge rushers entering the NFL Draft is moving to linebacker. This doesn’t work out well for some players, but for others, like the Minnesota Vikings’ Anthony Barr, it has. Jackson State’s Javancy Jones looks to be the next success in that trend.
Jones has been hard at work in his transition to linebacker. “[I’ve been] going to film and studying some of the greatest to ever play the game,” he told cover32. “I’ve been watching Ray Lewis, Luke Kuechly, Khalil Mack, lots of that.” He also explained that he has been working on dropping back in coverage and learning how to be versatile in multiple defensive fronts.
Jones is an explosive athlete: he’s strong and fast off the edge. He also has a whistle-to-whistle motor and has value on special teams. At his Pro Day, he ran a 4.54 40-yard dash and benched 225 pounds 26 times.
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Jones is also a proven leader and a great teammate. “I’ve been a captain on my team for four years now. I came in as a freshman and ended up being the captain. [Teams] know about my leadership and my effort,” he said. “With me, I only know two speeds: 0 and 100. I go full speed at practice. They know that they’re getting someone who’s giving his all every play, because I never know when it might be my last.”
He looks to bring that ability and passion to whichever team selects him this weekend.
Jones knows that he still has room to grow, though. When asked about which area of his game he needs to improve in, he said, “Probably dropping back in coverage… I’ve never been taught it.” He realizes that he needs more than his raw athleticism alone to be a threat in coverage. “Anybody can be an athlete, but you need to use your technique and skill… if I get taught technique and skill, I think I can go a long way.”
However, his athleticism definitely helps. “I’ve always had a nose for the football,” he explained. “so being able to drop back in coverage and cover running backs, tight ends and even slots , I just think I have the natural ability to be a ball hawk, if I’m put in an actual situation to be one.”
When watching his tape, Jones’ passion, athleticism and physicality are all apparent. He also has the leadership and character that coaches love. I asked him what teams would be getting if they selected him in the NFL Draft. “You’re gonna get a workhorse. You’re gonna get somebody who’s 100 percent committed to the team and will do anything to make the team…. anything the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it. And whatever it is, I’m doing it at 100 percent and giving my all.”
He certainly has the ability and mentality to make it in the pros. Now, it’s just a matter of which team will give him a shot.
– Jacob Infante is a National Editor for cover32 and also covers the Chicago Bears. He can be followed on Twitter @jacobinfante24.
– You can follow Javancy on Twitter @TheRealJavJones.