Texas safety Brandon Jones has received plenty of criticism this season.
Can only play as a box safety. Doesn’t come up with enough “flashy” plays. Lacks coverage skills.
And yet, most evaluators still see the 6-0, 200-pound senior as one of the top players at his position.
Much of the criticism, though, may stem from a few subpar games. Overall, though, Jones has improved in several areas this season, finishing with a team-leading 86 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4 pass deflections, 2 interceptions and 1 sack.
Jones also recently accepted a Senior Bowl invite.
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) July 23, 2019
So how did scouts view Jones early in the season, and what do evaluators think of him now?
Consider what one scout told The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller back in October:
“Coverage skills are really poor from him, but I bet he tests well and someone overdrafts him. I’d put him in Day 3,” the scout said, via Matt Miller.
Jones was dinged for his performance against Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, also one of the top prospects should he enter the 2020 NFL draft.
“… Teams must be aware of who he is: a third safety type who will likely be asked to spy quarterbacks, take away middle-of-the-field crossing routes and help in the run game,” Miller wrote.
“The downside for Jones is that this type of safety isn’t as valued in the NFL anymore.”
Fast-forward to late in the season, and it seems the thinking on Jones is starting to change.
“While I gave him a third-round grade entering the season, some scouts stamped Jones as a second-round prospect,” Pauline wrote. “… He’s stout defending the run, shows underrated ball skills and combines both size and instincts.”
And Pro Football Focus also took notice. In its analysis of the players who have accepted Senior Bowl invites, Jones received very high praise.
“Jones has seen his grades take a massive leap in 2019 by moving more to a slot role in the Texas defense. After earning a 46.7 overall grade last year, he’s at 76.0 this season,” PFF said.