[Remember to check the '2010 NFL Draft' section for all stories relating to the draft.]
As we continue our series of NFL Draft Prospect Profiles, let's look at a player who mans a position of need for our New York Giants and is seemingly rising up those mysterious draft boards.
That would be LSU safety Chad Jones. He is an imposing 6-foot-3, 230-pound safety who lacks experience, but apparently not talent. Not long ago, Jones figured to be a guy who would be available in Round 2 and most of the mocks still have him there. In fact, several have the Giants taking him in the second round. It seems, though, that Jones' stock is rising quickly and he may not be available to the Giants at No. 46.
Let's take a closer look at why Jones is shooting up draft boards.
Chad Jones Scouting Reports
Elite size for the safety position. Has experience at cornerback and safety. Great ball skills. A hard hitter. Good tackling technique.
Only one full year as a starter at free safety, so he's still very raw. Actually better at man coverage than in the zone at this point in his career.
Has the ability to develop into an elite safety. His biggest asset is his versatility. He has size and athleticism to play either safety position. His size will allow teams to get creative with him on the field and potentially play him closer to the line of scrimmage at times to assist against the run.
From SB Nation's Mocking The Draft.
With the physical package he brings to the table and his experience in the speedy SEC conference, Jones could be a pre-draft riser all the way in to the top 20 picks of the first round. Also a pitcher for the Tigers baseball team, the two-sport star has the kind of physicality that makes a huge difference over the middle with just his mere presence. His ability to tackle in the open field has become a lost art in the NFL, and every team is always looking for defensive backs that can be relied upon as a last line of defense. While his coverage abilities are up and down, the potential is there for Jones to be one of the best safeties in the game. With baseball and school out of the picture, Jones will be able to focus solely on his game which has never been the case. High ceiling prospect here that has the capability of being an immediate starter and Pro-Bowl defensive back.
From Fantasy Football Toolbox (this was written in November, early in the 2009 season).
Jones has been blessed with natural athletic talent, standing at an imposing 6'3'' and 230 pounds. He can run under 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, has great hands, and -- not surprisingly -- is one of the hardest hitters in Baton Rouge.
Jones is just now starting to put all of those tools together for real success on the football field. ... NFL scouts love nothing more than potential, and that alone should garner Jones a second-round selection in the 2010 draft.
Why Jones fits with the Giants
It's pretty obvious, really. The Giants need help at safety, and this appears to be a player with immense upside. And he might still be on the board when it comes time for the Giants to pick in the second round, though Jones is a player about whom there seems to be a lot of recent buzz. You can't fix all your problems in Round 1, and if they go elsewhere with their first choice Jones seems like a guy you could get excited about if he was there at pick No. 46 for the Giants in Round 2.
Why the Giants should pass
Well, to this point Jones has been more potential than productivity, so you are gambling on what you think he can do. Of course, in a way you are doing that with any draft pick. If the Giants go safety in the first round Jones would be over-kill in the second. Also, perhaps they will try to fill their safety need with a free agent like George Wilson of Buffalo, a player whom Perry Fewell coaches and is apparently enamored with.