2016 NFL Scouting Combine: Post-Combine Risers & Fallers
By Jerod Brown
Cardale Jones-Quarterback-Ohio State
Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones was a late-round prospect the 49ers might consider just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, Jones injured himself running the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine and was unable to participate in on-field drills.
With little college experience, and questions surrounding his second-string status at Ohio State, few quarterbacks would’ve been able to raise their stock as much as Jones could’ve with a solid performance. Now, instead of hearing his name buzzing, he’ll need an impressive workout at Ohio State’s pro day on March 11th if he plans on being drafted at all.
Hamstring injuries can linger beyond the typical recovery time. Jones will only have two weeks to prepare for one of his final opportunities to impress teams and he may not be fully-healed by the time that date rolls around.
Count Jones as one of the biggest fallers throughout the entire Scouting Combine weekend. It’s hard to ding a guy because of a fluke injury but he needed a big performance and was unable to compete. Fair or not, teams wanted to see more from Jones and were unable to do so.
Had Jones been able to throw, his arm would’ve immediately erased some of the concerns that teams have.
The issues that arise with Jones are not so much about his ability to play. He’s big–6’5” and 250 pounds– and has an absolute cannon. But teams want to see players compete. Jones lost his starting spot at Ohio State and was unable to perform any of the field workouts in Indianapolis.
While Jones can’t compare to Goff and Wentz in terms of experience, he exceeds the two in pure arm talent. He isn’t deadly accurate but he’s got the ability to make all the throws coaches want to see at the NFL level.
And that’s why this Scouting Combine was so important for him. He needs teams to focus on what he does well–throwing the ball–as opposed to his lack of game experience. The Scouting Combine was the perfect place for that.
For teams that need a quarterback, it’s difficult to select a player that you haven’t been able to completely evaluate. The 49ers will need to keep an eye on Jones as he heals and goes through workouts on his pro day.
He’ll have a chance to change the narrative leading up to the April draft but it’ll likely require private workouts where teams can see his abilities on display with their coaches.
The 49ers, in the midst of a PR nightmare with Colin Kaepernick, will probably avoid drafting an unproven quarterback unless Jones does major damage control at his pro day. As of now, he’s dropping down boards quickly after a rough weekend in Indianapolis.
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