When it comes to box safety prospects, Jamal Adams and Jabrill Peppers get a lot of hype, but one of the best safeties in that department could be North Carolina State’s Josh Jones. Jones might end up as the best player at the position in the draft under the right coaching staff. Jones had a stellar combine, recording a 4.41 40, 37 1/2” vertical, and a 11’0” broad jump at 6’1 1/4” 220. Jones had a productive senior year with 109 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 INT, and 8 PD, although he wound up earning only All ACC honorable mention honors.
Jones can play almost any role you need from a safety, whether it’s playing single-high, in the slot, or in the box, he can do it. He has the prototypical size to play in the box at 6’1” 220 and the range to handle a centerfield role. One area of concern is his awareness and when his over-aggressiveness leads to mistakes. That area can be improved with good coaching and film study. What can’t be taught is his athleticism.
The Patriots have already extensively talked with him out on his Pro Day. Given the team’s long term needs at safety, they could be comparing Jones towards another safety prospect they were linked to at Michigan’s Pro Day and see who to take on Day 2.
Vs. Miami 2016
Vs. Notre Dame 2016
Patriots Fit: Jones would start Year 1 on Special Teams and be the 4th safety in the rotation behind Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, and Patrick Chung. His game isn’t completely NFL ready due to over-aggressive play, although his speed is useful for covering kicks. In his 2nd year he should be able to compete with Chung for the 3rd safety role. His ability to handle multiple roles would make him a long term asset whether they want him as a single-high, playing Cover 2, or in the box.
Pro Comp: Tony Jefferson. Jones is most likely going to play more in the box in the NFL than at free safety. His strong Height-Weight-Speed numbers will shoot him up draft boards, although his game needs a bit of refinement in the future. His Senior Year production plus strong showing in the Senior Bowl cements Jones as a Day 2 prospect, the only question is if he goes in the 2nd round. He could be a potential option with the Patriots’ top pick at 72.