Ernest Jones 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Name: Ernest Jones

Position: Linebacker

College: South Carolina

Height: 6’ 1 ½”

Weight: 230 lbs

Overall Rank: No. 66 overall

Position Rank: LB6

Strengths: Ernest Jones leaves the Gamecock program as the leading tackler over the last two seasons. He plays the game downhill and with a throwback style that shows up on gamedays. He’s got a bulldog attitude, fighting inside the box with tenacity and hustle throughout the play. Between the tackles, Jones has good overall patience and vision, with the ability to stack and fit versus gap schemes as a middle-of-the-field plugger. He plays with good overall flexion and mobility in his lower half joints, allowing him to scrape with good balance and block destruct with force and efficiency combined. Jones plays with instincts and competitive toughness that allows him to routinely be around the ball as a run defender. He isn’t afraid to stick his nose into traffic and eat a few blocks to allow others to make the play. On Day 1, he’ll be a standout special teamer that can play either position inside for a 3-4 defense.

Weaknesses: About 20 years ago, Jones would’ve been viewed as the new wave of modern NFL linebackers. Unfortunately, that bite-the-ball mentality only goes so far in the present-day NFL. Jones is athletically limited, particularly in coverage, and will struggle if isolated in man coverage early in his career. He’s fairly scheme dependent and lacks the speed to be a legitimate backside gap-shooter at linebacker. Option routes out of the backfield will chew him up, as he simply doesn’t have the agility to match explosive athletes as they stretch the field horizontally. As a zone defender, he struggles to burst and close on the ball or make significant plays on the ball in-flight. So, while he often can get himself in a decent position, he won’t consistently make plays as a pass defender in an era when linebackers are targeted in coverage often.

What I Love: Jones plays linebacker with a no-frills no-nonsense mentality that is all about being an interior run stuffer and allowing others to play with a little more creativity. He understands his role, fits without question, and plays with toughness and attitude in the box.

NFL Comparison: Micah Kiser

Grade: 80/100

Position Specific Traits:

(key: +, ++, +++ positive scale | -, - -, - - - negative scale)

Athletic Ability: +

Football IQ/Instincts: +

Pass Coverage: +

Pass Rush: +

Run Defense: ++

Tackling: ++