Weight: 253 pounds
School: Ohio State Buckeyes
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.81 seconds
Vertical jump: 36 inches (tied for best among quarterbacks)
Cardale Jones 2016 NFL Draft Profile
Few prospects had as many highs and lows in such a short a period of time as Cardale Jones endured at Ohio State. In the span of about a year and a half, the Cleveland, OH native went from third-string quarterback to national title-winning starter and then all the way back to the bench. Before then, he was biding his time and waiting for an opportunity to make a name for himself.
After redshirting, Jones saw scant playing time in 2013. It wasn’t much of a surprise considering the career incumbent starter Braxton Miller was having. He would end up winning his second Big Ten offensive player of the year honor later that year. Jones was in the running for the starting job when Miller was forced to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery the following off-season. However, it was redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett who Meyer named starter heading into the season opener.
Despite an early season loss to Virginia Tech, Barrett would put together a Heisman caliber season. It would get Ohio State back into the national title conversation. But a broken ankle suffered in their annual rivalry clash against Michigan put those hopes in jeopardy. It was then that Jones stepped up in ways that didn’t seem to be possible at the time.
First came the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin. Making his first-ever career start, Jones would throw for 257 yards and three touchdowns as the Buckeyes romped to a 59-0 win. Then he proceeded to help OSU upset top-ranked Alabama 42-35 in the College Football Playoff semifinals. This would be followed by a 42-20 triumph over Oregon that helped Ohio State clinch its first national title since 2002 and eighth overall.
Even though there was talk he would turn pro, Jones announced he would return to Columbus for his junior season. And when Miller made it known he was switching to wide receiver, it became a two-man battle for the starting job in the preseason. Jones would beat Barrett out, but he had trouble rekindling the magic from the previous year. He threw for over 250 yards in just three of his seven starts before Barrett retook the job against Rutgers eight games in. Jones would be unable to unseat Barrett for the remainder of the season.
Afterwards, Jones became one of nine Ohio State underclassmen to declare for this year’s NFL Draft.
- possesses an above-average frame with an ideal combination of height and bulk.
- durable body that should be able to take big hits he’ll inevitably face at next level.
- proverbial cannon for an arm; once threw a 74 yard ball during Ohio State spring game.
- quick release with solid mechanics.
- surefire threat with deep ball throws.
- has a nice pump fake move that can freeze defensive backs.
- can make plays with his feet and has the size to shed tackles.
- makes poised, accurate perimeter passes under pressure.
- steps up in big-game situations.
- has just a total of ten starts in entire college career.
- couldn’t keep starting job last season.
- tends to lose fluidity in footwork when defenses bring added pressure.
- will need to improve overall pocket awareness on blitzes.
- telegraphs where the ball is going with his eyes too often.
- questions surrounding leadership and ability to respond to adversity.
NFL Comparison: Daunte Culpepper
Teams with Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams
Projection: third to fourth round
Cardale Jones is one of those quarterback prospects that scouts refer to as a “project” at the next level. His combination of NFL-caliber size and arm strength has him firmly on the radar of teams with a need at the position. That said, he’s one of those raw talents that needs to develop in a system that can optimize his skill set. Though he clearly lacks collegiate game reps and tended to regress last year, there’s no doubting his potential. Ultimately, his success or lack thereof in the NFL will come down to fit. If he can find a team that has an offensive staff able to maximize his effectiveness, he has a chance to make an impact. Expect Jones to be off the board early on day three.