While Connecticut hasn’t had much to celebrate the last few season, the play of Travis Jones has been a bright spot. Jones will now take his talent to the NFL as he was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Playing the nose tackle in college, Jones used his brute strength to overpower opposing interior offensive linemen. His best season came as a Junior in 2021 when 48 tackles, 7.5 of which were for a loss. He also totaled 4.5 sacks. In UConn’s lone victory of the 2021 season against Yale, Jones totaled four tackles with 0.5 for a loss and 0.5 sacks.
As can be expected, his strength turned heads at the combine. Jones threw up 455 pounds in the bench press, with 32 reps of 225 pounds, and cleared 615 in the squat. Explosiveness and reading running backs will probably need to improve slightly if he wants to make an immediate impact in the NFL. That being said, he did overpower several offensive linemen who ended up being first round picks at the Senior Bowl.
Standing at 6’4” and 325 pounds, Jones does what defensive tackles are meant to do, which is take up space and occupy interior blockers in the middle of the field. If he’s the lone defensive tackle in a system, can he get the job done? Some scouts expressed worry, but he could improve faster than some think thanks to a change of scenery.
Note: UConn did play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic