Former Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones began on-the-field workouts at the NFL Combine on Monday, and he did well for himself. The numbers were on his side more times than not, and he stayed out for extra drills as teams wanted to see him drop back in coverage some. There is still plenty of work to be done, but Jones did what he needed to do at the ultimate job interview.
Jones measured in well at a lean and long 6-foot-5, 266 pounds. He also had some of the longest arms at the event at 35 ½ inches to go along with 9 3/4" hands.
Before he could strut his stuff on the field, the defensive linemen tested on the bench press. There, Jones managed just 22 reps - good for sixth among 44 total participants.
But once he got on the field, the Endicott (NY) native did his thing on his 22nd birthday.
Jones began by clocking two 40-yard dashes in the 4.8-second range unofficially, and the times held up. He was officially clocked at 4.87 to crack the top 15 on the day. Steadiness is a good sign, though he doesn’t have the speed that some hoped for in terms of playing 3-4 rush outside linebacker. Jones did, however, run a top-5 10-second split during his 40-yard dash at 1.60 seconds.
On-field drills were next, and Jones had a bit of a slow start though he would regroup. In the change-of-direction drill, he displayed solid lateral movement but his hip-turns weren't as fluid as expected. On the bag drill, Jones again showed a lack of fluidity in his hips though his length allowed him to complete the drill in decent fashion time-wise.
In the pass-rushing drills, with the rip and double-rip around the edge technique, Jones looked better. He turned the corner in a calculated way and got to the landmarks effectively. He also proved effective in the touch-and-go drill with the combination of bags and dummies. He showed good shuffle and very good hip-bend, especially for a player of his length.
Once most of the group was done for the day on the field, Jones was asked to participate in extra drills with select defensive ends who may have the ability to play 3-4 OLB at the next level. He rounded his drop in the initial drill designed to display what a drop would be in a cover-3 scheme (curl-to-flat). As the drops got deeper, Jones had issues remaining low in a back-pedal and flipping his hips although he caught everything in sight to finish each maneuver strong.
The group headed to more testing after that, and Jones really took off. He notched the fourth-best vertical jump among D-linemen at 35 inches and tied for fifth in the broad jump at 10 feet.
Chandler Jones helped his chances at the combine and tested well when in most areas. Strength is a bit of a concern, but his length makes it that much harder to have reps count and it helps create that much more separation from blockers. He shined on paper with his measurables and backed it up Monday as a straight-line runner with the 40-yard dash times, over-performing expectations in the vertical and broad jump – all while showing some upside during the on-field drills. He will need to continue to work on his hips and in coverage, but Jones certainly didn’t hurt his chances Monday. I still envision him on the edge of a 4-3 scheme, but the potential for him to stand up remains solid and may be where he is projected by a team come Draft Day.