- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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This is the fourth in a series highlighting players who could be selected by the Jets with the ninth overall pick in the April 25 draft:
Player: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Height/weight: 6-foot-2½, 245 pounds
Scouts, Inc. rating: 14
Draft projection: Ninth to 17th
Scouting report: Jones is the opposite of LSU OLB Barkevious Mingo and Oregon OLB Dion Jordan, both featured previously in this space. By that, I mean Jones was a highly productive college player who tested poorly. He ran a 4.92 40 at his pro day, prompting one scout to tell me, "Athletically, he's as mediocre as you can get, but the guy is a producer." He was an elite playmaker as a 3-4 OLB, combining terrific instincts, strong hands and quick feet. He has a natural feel for rushing the passer, mastering the art of the strip sack. Against Alabama, he ran over all-America G Chance Warmack on one play, according to a scout. Jones is so-so against the run and he doesn't have much experience in pass coverage. He's on the light side for a 3-4 OLB, without much room to grow. That might be a concern for Rex Ryan, who likes his OLBs in the 6-foot-4, 260-pound neighborhood.
Key stats: Nobody did it better in the SEC over the last two seasons. Jones produced 28 sacks, including 14.5 and seven forced fumbles last season even though he missed two games.
Red flags: It's a big one -- reportedly a mild case of stenosis, meaning a narrowing of the spinal column. Jones hurt his neck while playing for USC in 2009 and he transferred because the school's doctors refused to clear him. The condition was confirmed at the scouting combine, with differing opinions on how it will affect his long-term ability to play in the NFL. Once considered a top-10 lock, Jones could slide to the middle of Round 1. In the end, it'll be up to the individual teams and their doctors to determine if they're comfortable with the risk. The Jets are hurting at OLB and could use a player with his skill set, but we're talking about roughly a $12 million guarantee for the No. 9 pick -- perhaps too big a gamble for new GM John Idzik.
In his own words: "I have a slight narrowing in my spine between the C4 and C5 [vertabraes]. Like pretty much everybody -- probably some of y'all have spinal stenosis and don't know it -- I have it. But most of the doctors checked me out and feel that I'm fine. I don't have any contusion or anything like that in it. I only had one incident -- a stinger at USC in '09, my freshman year. I never had any symptoms after that. I played two years of SEC football, red-shirted, practiced every day, never had any symptoms. So I feel that I'm healthy."