2022 NFL Draft: Travis Jones Scouting Report
Position: Defensive Tackle
Weight: 325 pounds
The pre-draft process is another chance for scouts to confirm their thoughts on the top prospects in that draft cycle. However, every year there are a few prospects that show off the ability to ambush teams’ big boards. One of the main suspects of this surprising rise this year is defensive tackle Travis Jones from UConn.
2022 NFL Draft: Travis Jones Draft Profile
The 300+ pound product out of UConn was not supposed to be the chaos enforcer he turned into. Jones was recruited to UConn as an offensive guard out of Wilbur Cross high school in New Haven, CT. However, coaches knew before the season started that his impact would be better on the defensive side of the ball. That turned out to be a great idea. In Jones’ first game as a college player, against a surging UCF offense, he recorded seven combined tackles. Unfortunately, his team was routed 56-17 and, as a result, started a trend for Jones that kept him lower on some scouts’ radars. While he may have been dominant or had a good game, the team would find a way to get dominated.
That was until Saturday, November 13, 2021. In his NFL combine media availability, Jones outlined how this Clemson game was a chance for him to “go out there and show people I can play with top teams in the country.”
From his one-tech position, he abused Clemson’s interior offensive line. While he did not affect the game in the box score much, he was in the face of Clemson Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei for most of the game. The end score was the same as most of Jones’ games at UConn; but there was no doubt that Jones was among the, if not the most, dominant players in that game. His dominance was enough that those involved in the Senior Bowl had to extend an invite to the New Haven native.
- Ideal size for a versatile nose/defensive tackle
- Great Athleticism for his size
- His initial punch is violent. Excellent bull-rush ability
- Uses the offensive lineman’s leverage against him well
- Patience when diagnosing plays allows him to stuff the run
- Improvement from year to year as he learns the position
- Conditioning may keep him off the field in third-down situations
- Will allow the linemen to get the lower ground, allowing himself to get anchored
- Hand usage is a bit inconsistent.
NFL Comparison: D.J. Reader
Draft Projection: Mid to late 2nd Round
At the Senior Bowl, Jones went on to have a week that solidified him as a day-two prospect. His ability to use the offensive lineman’s leverage against him made it clear that blocking him one-on-one consistently is not an option. He had various bouts with top offensive lineman prospect Zion Johnson from Boston College throughout the week.
Travis Jones vs Zion Johnson has been awesome battle of heavyweights. Jones gets a win here but both of them have been quite good this week. pic.twitter.com/eXfhjzUCQP
— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) February 4, 2022
— Tyler Forness (@TheRealForno) February 1, 2022
I will miss the daily battles between Zion Johnson and Travis Jones at the Senior Bowl. Every win on every rep was earned and each rep looked like Godzilla vs Kongpic.twitter.com/5SdPTafouz
— Anthony Cover 1 (@Pro__Ant) February 4, 2022
Jones is not a perfect prospect, of course. He got off the field in various third-down situations where his team could have used his ability to push the pocket. Quarterbacks say that the worst pressure to deal with comes from the interior. Jones has a chance to give that pressure, but he has to work on his conditioning. Sometimes he allows offensive linemen to get underneath him, allowing them to control the rep. This leads to the final weakness: his hand usage is inconsistent. Admittedly, this is nit-picky because when he uses his hands well, he uses them very well. Well enough to the point where he can judo-throw an offensive lineman to the side after out-leveraging them. However, he does have times where his hands and strength can be used to out-leverage the offensive lineman and they simply do not budge.
These weaknesses are all aspects of his game that are fixable with time at the position. Make no mistake, whoever takes this freak of nature will not regret it.