The reviews are in from Georgia’s Pro Day, and while linebacker Jarvis Jones declared himself the best player in the draft afterward, most other observers weren’t so impressed.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock reported from the Pro Day that Jones ran a 40-yard dash in the 4.9-second range, and that representatives of multiple teams were alarmed that Jones was that slow.
“I think a 4.9 is a red flag,” Mayock said. “I talked to a lot of coaches and scouts and they all said the same thing: ‘Wow. A lot slower than we expected.’”
By way of comparison, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was also marked down by several observers as too slow after he ran his 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine — and Te’o, who finished in 4.82 seconds, was faster than Jones.
A 40 time isn’t everything: As former NFL general manager Charley Casserly noted on NFL Network, Jones’s 40 is comparable to the 40 that Terrell Suggs ran at his Pro Day, a workout that had some people downgrading Suggs but didn’t dissuade the Ravens from spending a Top 10 pick on him — and didn’t stop Suggs from becoming one of the NFL’s best defensive players. But Suggs is also 260 pounds. In the next breath, Casserly said he couldn’t remember any linebackers Jones’s size (245 pounds) who were able to overcome a 4.9-second 40 and still play well in the NFL.
Jones does, of course, have plenty of good game tape to back him up: He wasn’t a two-time All-American for nothing. As Mayock said, the question facing NFL teams now is, “Do you throw out the 4.9 and go back to the tape and trust that he can do what you ask him to do?”
Jones has to hope teams are willing to do just that.