Eagles Draft: Small School Sleeper profiles- WR Zay Jones

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Last week,we wrote about Lamar University CB Brendan Langley and how he could both be a fit and a steal for the Eagles in the Draft. This time around we cover a player who could be a day-one contributor for the Birds’, while filling arguably one of the biggest team needs.

Zay Jones:

This 6’1, 200 LB, playmaker from East Carolina University has spent the past four years driving defensive coordinators crazy and embarrassing Corners weekly. The Dallas Texas Native has been nothing short of a monster in his career, where he holds the D-1 single season (158) and career receptions records (399). With his final career numbers at 399 receptions for 4,279 yards and 23 touchdowns, it’s easy to believe the hype surrounding Zay Jones.

Jones was something of an underdog coming from a smaller school, but after his showing in this years Senior Bowl, he proved to be more than ready to play with the big boys. In his week at Mobile, AL, Jones was the topic of everyone’s conversations, where he seemed to catch everything thrown his way.

Although he was only given credit for a single touchdown, an NFL game with replay would of given him three as he ran rampant on his opposition.

Shortly after the Senior Bowl, I spoke with The Eagles Wire, USA Today’s Turron Davenport and asked him his thoughts on the wideout.

“Skill set wise, he can be very effective from the outside  as an X receiver. I like how he is able to get in and out of his breaks, as well as use his body to get position against defensive back. He’s a polished route runner, very consistent catching the ball, and has a large catch radius.”

Watching the tape, it’s easy to find yourself agreeing with Davenport. His catch radius could be one of the best amongst prospects this year and has the strong hands to be successful in the NFL, bringing much needed security to the Eagles. Along with these things, Jones offers good speed to get on top of defensive backs in a hurry, and is able to separate easily due to his crisp route running.

I then asked how Jones compares to the bigger names in this years Draft, to which he responded:

“I think in his own way he can be effective. John Ross, Mike Williams and Corey Davis could be more dangerous than him, but Jones will definitely have his own impact (In the NFL) .”

By comparison, Jones may not get the hype that other top WR’s in the Draft are receiving, but he deserves a strong look. As he has all the tools that make for a number 1 wideout in the league, which would make for a great situation for the Birds’.

In 2016, Jones was named an All-American and has received for over a 100 yards 19 times in 49 games; including a 22 reception, 190 yard game against South Carolina and a 12 reception, 212 yards, 2 touchdown performance against Navy. In his four seasons at ECU, Jones also never had less than 62 catches in a year. The signs of a true difference maker are clearly there and will serve him well at the next level.

Aside from his skill set, he has been called a true leader by his coaches and teammates alike. Many citing his willingness to be coached up and his humble mentality throughout this process.

Jones has it all; the speed to get open, the smarts to beat a defender, and the strength to go up and make a play on a ball when it’s contested. Needless to say, with all the question marks surrounding the Eagles receiving core, Jones could serve as a real boost to the position. His presence would help elevate the play of other receivers around him and give QB Carson Wentz another weapon to grow with.

The 2107 Philadelphia Eagles need to add weapons all over the field and luckily one of the teams biggest needs, happens to be one of depth in the draft, but with that said, Jones could be special.

Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

 

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