Zay Jones- Wide Receiver, East Carolina Pirates
ARM LENGTH: 32 1/2"
PROJECTED ROUND: 2ND-3RD ROUND
40 YD DASH (NFL Combine): 4.45 seconds
BENCH PRESS (NFL Combine): 15
VERTICAL (NFL Combine): 36.5”
BROAD JUMP (NFL Combine): 133”
3 CONE DRILL (NFL Combine): 6.79 seconds
20 YD SHUTTLE (NFL Combine): 4.01 seconds
STRENGTHS: There shouldn’t be a single team that can complain about Jones’ tape. While some prospects don’t get enough opportunities to showcase their talent on film, Jones was given plenty of looks in 2016. Since he was the primary (which cannot be emphasized enough) target for the Pirates, teams can get a full analysis from watching his senior year. His biggest strength is he uses his hands well to catch a ball anywhere on the field. He also uses his body to shield a defender from making a play on a pass. By doing so, he can go up top or even down low to cradle a ball in for a catch. Jones was utilized as a slot and outside receiver, as the Pirates frequently moved him around the field on each series. His awareness and foot placement near the sidelines allowed him to make difficult catches in tight areas. Defenders have a hard time getting hands on him if playing press coverage, and also struggle to knock him off his route. Since his quarterbacks defaulted in his direction, Jones had plenty of 50/50 balls to win, and showed he can snatch a ball away from a defender. He also has good acceleration when making cuts on routes.
WEAKNESSES: His speed is decent, but not enough to make defenders turn and open their hips. Most of the time has a defender right on or near him when making catches. Majority of his catches were in short to medium routes, so deep ball was rarely utilized. Jones’ run and screen blocking are average at best and doesn’t engage for an extended period of time. He likes to work back to the quarterback, but sometimes loses too many yards because of it. Shallow routes can start beyond the line of scrimmage, but sometimes he works his way behind the line of scrimmage and loses yards. Jones also has some ability to make a defender miss in the open field, but normally gets tackled by the first player near him.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Jones has the ability to be a great receiver, and his film tells you everything he can do on the field. Since ECU put him in multiple positions offensively, he showcased his talent as an outside receiver as well as in the slot. He surprised many with his 40 yard dash time, so his speed could be improving. Regardless of if he’s open, Jones can catch anything thrown his way, and teams will love how reliable he is as a receiver.