Has good speed and range to make plays in pursuit. Willing to come up and fill a running lane, and able to make the stop at the point of attack. Shows some burst off the edge as a blitzer. Does a nice job in coverage when he can keep things in front of him. Showing ability to read the quarterback's eyes and making a play on the ball.
Undersized and has trouble getting off blocks on the second level. Gets caught too much in traffic and trash when working in pursuit, and needs to take better angles there. Overpursues at times along the edge. Struggles matching up with tight ends in man coverage, not showing fluid hips and footwork.
Jones is a nice fit as a WILL linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. He is fast and athletic and if he can compete early on special teams, has a chance to develop down the road as a stopgap starter. Jones was a four-year starter, but didn't have super production. But he has NFL talent. He had his best two seasons as a junior and senior, combining for 91 tackles, 10.5 for loss, 4 sacks, 3 picks, and 5 PBUs.
Jones is a decent developmental outside linebacker in a 4-3. He can make plays in space, but needs to improve in coverage if he hopes to be an effective starter. He has the ability to develop down the road as a stopgap guy. He can definitely add depth to an NFL roster, and if he can produce on special teams early on, he should get that opportunity to develop down the road. He is probably one of those players that winds up developing into a journeyman down the road after his rookie contract expires. But he can bounce from team to team, add depth and be a decent stopgap starter at WLB.
Hicks can add depth in Atlanta and be a potential upgrade on the outside. He's not a clear-cut upgrade over guys like James and Adkins, but definitely can compete with those guys. And if he can perform on special teams, he can stick on the roster. He has the potential to develop into a capable reserve player that can replace Coy Wire as the team's primary nickel linebacker. But he'll need time to improve and develop in coverage. He'll probably never be great there, but at least good enough that he can get some reps on regular defense and the team can be comfortable with him in the starting lineup for a few games if injuries occur. But that's not going to be until two or three years down the road.
Hicks can add depth on the outside for a 4-3 team, and thus merits a sixth or seventh round pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.5
Pass Rush: 2.0
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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