Let's continue looking at potential New York Giants' targets in the 2013 NFL free-agent market. Let's put the name of a relatively unknown middle linebacker into the hopper today and see what you think. Today's focus is on Brad Jones, a middle linebacker from the Green Bay Packers.
Injuries and ineffective play by others finally gave the 26-year-old four-year veteran a chance to show what he could do in 2012. In 10 starts he had 77 tackles, two sacks, four passes defensed and a forced fumble.
In compiling a list of the best linebackers available via free agency SB Nation has included Jones. saying "with the ability to play inside in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme, Jones should generate plenty of interest."
Jones received a +6.8 grade from Pro Football Focus. In 839 snaps, he was +4.1 against the run and +4.6 vs. the pass. PFF ranks Jones as the No. 3 free-agent linebacker expected to hit the market. PFF writes:
He might lack highlight plays, so fans might not be excited to have someone like Brad Jones on their team, but the fact that he can play both run and coverage well makes him a valuable option.
Kevin McCauley of SB Nation's Packers web site, Acme Packing Company, doesn't see Jones as a viable 4-3 middle linebacker for a contending team. Via e-mail, he wrote:
Jones started his career as a 3-4 OLB, where he wasn't adequate as a pass rusher. He moved inside due to injuries to Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith this season and was better as a 3-4 ILB than he was as an OLB. He's very strong against the run and adequate, but certainly not good for a ILB in pass coverage. It's certainly possible that he could play 4-3 MLB, but I don't think he's someone a 4-3 team with playoff aspirations should be depending on to fill that hole and start 16 games.
Jones is intriguing in that he is a young player who -- until 2012 -- had few opportunities. Could he play the middle in a 4-3? Opinions vary, as we've seen, which means that would be up to Jerry Reese and the Giants' pro personnel department to make an assessment.
Thoughts' Giants' fans?