We’re getting to the meat and potatoes of the Game On Wisconsin NFL Draft Profiles. Travis Jones is indeed the meat and potatoes.
Travis Jones – 6’ 5, 333 – UConn, IDL, Junior (RS-COVID)
Travis Jones was the shining star on an otherwise god-awful UConn football team. During Jones’ 3 seasons on campus, the Huskies went a combined 4-32. But that’s definitely not on him.
Jones recorded back-to-back-to-back season PRs in almost every statistic. Consequently, he’s risen up big boards as much as any prospect throughout the approach to the 2022 NFL Draft.
#UConn DT Travis Jones vs. Clemson was one of the best single game showings I’ve seen from anyone in this class. The rush potential he showed at his size combined with his strength in the run game #goodstuff #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/8bdo3V83sm
— Tommy (@tmacdraft24) April 17, 2022
What I Like
+ Fierce Bull Rush
+ Approach Angles
+ First step/ Explosion
+ Lateral Agility
Travis Jones may wind up as the top interior defensive lineman from the 2022 NFL Draft class. He proved at the NFL Combine that he’s an elite athlete for the position. He compliments that with a covetable frame – great arm length and thicccness throughout his upper and lower body.
Jones explodes out of his 4-point stance when lined up over center. He’s at his best when he’s allowed to push the pocket with minimal responsibility. He plays with a low initial knee bend and does a great job of rolling his hips through contact. Jones may have the most impactful bull rush of any prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class.
He has success when he switches up his contact angle. Jones can straight arm and drive through half a shoulder pad or meet a punch with a solid arm swipe and work around the body with pace. It’s obvious that Jones’ best move is his bull rush, however, its encouraging that he’s not only able to show blockers a different approach, but have success while doing it. He’s not a one-trick pony.
Travis Jones gave him some fits here. pic.twitter.com/kWmYWI9Mzu
— Brooks (@EBrooksUncut) April 16, 2022
Jones was successful when pushing the pocket from a number of alignments. No matter where he was lined up, he was able to win the spot and position himself perpendicular to the pocket, giving himself 2 potential lanes to a successful pass rush.
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 4, 2022
Elite lateral agility for the position allows Jones to take advantage of a two-gap responsibility. When he can keep leverage on the blocker, Jones stacks with ease and has the movement ability to work both sides. His play/ball awareness is on point and he has a shocking ability to pursue the ballcarrier, given his size.
What I Havent Seen Yet
– Consistent Hand Placement
– Wins Against Good Technique
– Sure Tackling
Far too often, Jones throws a wide initial punch. He also struggles to grab cloth on contact. Quick-shooting hands will often beat him to the punch and keep him from locking out his arms. Jones’ underdeveloped hand technique keeps him from consistently utilizing his long arms.
Typically, when Jones loses, its because he’s playing bully ball with his elbows. It’s been keeping him from winning on a more consistent basis.
He doesn’t play with enough leverage to compensate for the inconsistent handwork. Swims and arm over/unders are difficult when interior blockers are latched on with a superior pad level. He rarely displays a level-change and doesn’t fall back on violence when the rep is lost.
Jones struggles to turn a loss into a win. That isn’t fixing itself at the next level.
Even when Jones wins a rep, there’s usually a blocker still hanging on one of his edges- he rarely sheds entirely. This makes it difficult for Jones to finish plays. He penetrates and makes contact but often struggles to get ballcarriers to the ground. He doesn’t continue the process through the ballcarrier often enough.
We love the potential that Jones possesses but in order to take the next step forward in his production, he needs to improve his handwork. Still, we love his natural traits.
His athletic profile is extremely rare and difficult to find a comparison for but I keep coming back to Chris Jones. The Joneses are both elite athletes with fantastic length for the IDL position. They’re both very versatile, though in different ways. Chris proved this year that he’s able to line up on the edge and still have success, while the line for Travis is slightly before that.
I won’t be the one to pigeonhole a talented player like Travis Jones but I feel as though his best fit as a big disruptor. However, he has the anchor to hang at either a nose or 5-tech position at the next level. Jones might be the only prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class that I honestly feel comfortable aligning anywhere from the 0 to the 5-tech on day-one.
The versatility, size/athleticism combo, and flashes on tape give us plenty of confidence in Jones’ translation to the professional level of competition. Jones is one of the top IDL prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft class and continues to creep up big boards. Far from a guarantee but it sounds like Travis Jones is destined for the first round.
|6′ 5″||333||34 1/4||10 1/4||4.92||DNP||28.5||110||7.33||4.58|
Role: Big 3-Tech
Grade: Fringe 1st-round