Mocking the Draft: Round Three Finale—More Linebackers

on the clockYou hopefully know the drill by now. (If you don’t, there’s a link to the rest of my draft posts at the end of the article.) Here are the third round prospects I’ve covered:

  • Charone Peake, WR (Kadar)
  • Kamalei Correa, OLB (PFF)
  • Sean Davis, FS (Invictus XI)
  • Vadal Alexander, OG/OT (Reuter)
  • Jordan Jenkins, OLB (Schmeltzer)
  • Jeremy Cash, S (SteelersWire)

And here are the final two contenders:

  • Scooby Wright, ILB (draftsite.com)
  • Deion Jones, OLB (Brown)

This isn’t like Dancing With the Stars—the order I took the players in was all about grouping them into like positions.

Here we go:

Deion Jones

Steve Franz, LSU Sports Media


Deion Jones, OLB

I couldn’t decide whether to go with one of Jones’ intense, smoldering photos or one of his smiling, relaxed ones, but as you can see smoldering won out.

The August 2015 article in The Advocate from which this photo is taken reveals the game-changing information that this young man’s nickname is Debo. I’m not sure the universe could handle having two OLBs with this nickname on the Steelers’ squad (although of course James Harrison’s nickname is with two E’s.) It turns out his father gave him the nickname, as his two favorite players were Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson.

A December 2015 profile in The Advocate notes:

[Jones] is the son of a former cab driver, Cal, and a longtime Subway restaurant manager, mother Tahonas. He’s the offspring of high school sweethearts, of a mother who graduated high school with little Debo kicking in her belly. He’s the son of two people who were raised, at various points, in the West Bank’s Fischer housing projects.

He’s a son to parents who were only able to send “Doo” — that’s what momma calls him — to the esteemed Catholic school [Jesuit] because of a tuition reprieve.

And, now, here they sit in their modest two-bedroom home in the Tall Timbers neighborhood of Algiers, fielding questions about their son’s possible future millionaire life in the NFL and ignoring calls from potential agents.

“It’s surreal,” Tahonas says.

It’s a lovely article, which begins with this story:

Cal Jones keeps it under his mattress, tucked away in his secret stash, stacked up with newspaper clippings and other memorable items regarding his son.

They lay beneath him when he sleeps, as close and as safe as possible.“I’m going to give it to my grandkids one day,” he says, lifting the mattress and removing a laminated six-page booklet recognizing the 2012 senior class at Jesuit High School.

The members of that senior class stare at you, their headshots spread across three pages. They are mostly white.

On the inside cover is a photo of Cal’s son, Deion. Deion gets a full story, built around a photo of him playing football. The photo is 10 times the size of any of those headshots. Above the photo is a headline.

“Debo Jones named Blue Jay of the Year.”

The Blue Jay of the Year is a big honor at Jesuit. It’s the big honor.And the school gave it to a black kid from a middle-class family from Algiers.

The article talks about the sacrifices the family had to make to send their son to Jesuit, even at a reduced tuition. But it’s looking like it was all worth it as Jones looks to get his name called in the top 100. He is No. 68 currently on cbssports’ big board and No. 65 on nfl.com’s board.

There’s not at much tape on Jones as one might like, as he was buried down the depth chart for much of his time at LSU. But last season he opened a lot of eyes. Before that, though, he still made his mark on special teams:

For his first three seasons at LSU, Jones led the Tigers’ special teams units. He was a member of all of them, creating buzz as a freshman with his fierce hits on kickoff and punt coverage — a torpedo of a player, tossing around his body without care.

Plaques from his time as LSU’s “War Daddy” hang from the walls of the Jones’ living room. He was special teams player of the year in 2012 and made the Wild Tiger Club each of his seasons with the program.

And he loves football. As he said:

“I really do want to play until I’m 45,” he says. “Maybe have me kick the ball after I can’t run any more.

“Or long snapper,” Debo laughs. “I could do that.”

Perhaps he needs to read my article on Greg Warren before he blithely makes that assumption. But you’ve got to love the enthusiasm.

Here’s info from his nfl.com scouting report:

Rating: 5.73

Three-down linebacker prospect with outstanding athleticism and a willing, aggressive mindset for the position. Jones lacks the playing experience that most linebackers in this draft will have so he might need a year of tutelage on the NFL level to help him expedite his learning curve. Jones could be a fit at ILB for a 3-4 team or as an outside linebacker in a 4­-3. Jones’ potential as a special teams cover man gives him a shot to get early playing time.

Wright

via tucson.com

Scooby Wright, ILB

Much to my amusement, as I looked up information on Wright I discovered that he and Deion Jones worked together at the Combine, as Shareen Rayan of zonazealots.com writes:I was curious if players are alone at the combine, or do they get to know other players?“I was training with Deion Jones, out of LSU, he played linebacker, so we became pretty tight,” he said, “We made sure we had each other’s best interest in mind and helped each other push each other along the way.”How ironic that they are competing in this article for the third-round pick of my BLA mock draft…There were other items of interest in the interview, which included something I’ve already declared shouldn’t de facto cut a player off from consideration in this forum, although it’s tempting—quoting Ray Lewis.

Here is the offending tweet:

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I put it down to the sort of youthful indiscretion which I’m sure Steeler Nation can overlook if he becomes one of our own.

She ends the article with this commendation:

If you are looking for a defensive lineman with a heart of gold, a drive like no other, a man who never gives up against all odds, has off the chart character, who can change the outcome of the game in one play, our Wildcat is the guy for you!

I can tell we are kindred spirits…

How about the footbally stuff? According to his bio at arizonawildcats.com:

Turned in one of the most prolific defensive seasons in NCAA history … Based on a vote of NCAA head coaches, media and college athletics personnel, won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award, all given annually to the nation’s top defender … The Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, ranked in the top five among FBS players for total tackles (163), tackles for loss (29.0), sacks (14.0) and forced fumbles (6) … UA’s sixth unanimous All-American … All-Pac-12 First-Team and three-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week … SB Nation,CBSSports.com and Scout.com National Defensive Player of the Year … Walter Camp Player of the Year Finalist … Career game-high 19 tackles at UCLA, 5.0 TFL vs. ASU and three forced fumbles at Washington State.

His coach at Arizona noted about his two-star recruit status (thus his twitter handle):

“Two-Star Scooby, it baffles me that more people weren’t on him,” Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “That he was in a smaller area and not a highly recruited area (may have contributed to it), but after we watched the film, asked people about him, got to meet his family, I’m thinking there’s no negatives.

“He’s very, very coachable, extremely coachable. This is a guy that has such great passion for the game that he’s gonna make himself a better player every day.”

But after his spectacular sophomore season, Wright was injured for most of 2015, only playing in two games. A pre-2015 season profile on WalterFootball gave the analyst’s opinion that Wright would be a first-round pick in the 2016 draft.

But the 2015 season distinctly damaged his prospects—as his nfl.com draft profile notes, “his injury-plagued 2015 season put his name on the back­burner.” Nonetheless he declared early for the draft. He is 106 on cbssports’ big board. nfl.com has him rated at 5.71, and writes:

Possesses elite instincts. Appears to head in direction of the play like he knows the play call. Extremely active and always on the balls of his feet and ready to hunt. Plays with an insane amount of competitive fire. Flows quickly to point with downhill action and looking to disrupt. Is often able to force cutbacks or alter the running back’s track. Can time snaps and shoot gaps making him a dangerous blitzer. His 2014 season, which included 163 tackles, 29 tackles for losses, 14 sacks and six forced fumbles, is widely considered the most productive for a linebacker in college football history. Explodes with hips into tackles and finishes with his feet. Play speed is faster than timed speed thanks to combination of instincts and burst to the ball. Shows plus lateral agility with ability to engage in, shed, or beat the block.

To be continued.

To see my coverage of Round One, click here and here and here.

For Round Two, click here and here and here.

For Round Three, click here and here and here.

 

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