Ronald Jones II
By: Ryan Cearfoss
- Elite Burst
- Good Vision
- Breakaway speed
- Eludes tacklers
- Breaks arm tackles
- Short yards
- Good between the tackles
- Age(only 20)
- Decisive runner
Elite Burst - Ronald Jones has a major trump card when it comes to running the football and that’s his burst. Jones has the ability to go from stopped to full speed in a matter of a couple steps. His burst helps him in multiple ways, whether he’s running to the outside beating defenders to the edge and upfield or hitting the hole quickly on inside runs.
Breaks Arm Tackles - For being a slightly smaller back Jones runs with surprising power. He bounces off tackles when he isn’t wrapped up and is able to shed the majority of arm tackles. Once he has his speed built up into the secondary defensive backs don’t have a chance.
Between the Tackles – Another thing that Jones excels at that goes against natural conceptions of a running back of his size, is his ability to run between the tackles. Jones is patient behind the line and when there is a hole he bursts thru always going forward. Most backs of his size tend to bounce to the outside more in these situations but Jones is comfortable going forward and taking what is there.
Red Zone Production - USC had nothing but confidence in running with Jones in the red zone. This season with 24 carries inside the 10-yard line Jones converted 11 of them to scores. The combination of Jones’s vision and burst allow him to keep defenses on their heels knowing he can beat them in multiple ways running up the gut or beating them to the outside.
Breakaway Speed – Don’t let a lackluster NFL Combine and Pro Day 40 time distract you from the truth. Jones is an absolute burner on the football field. Moonlighting on the USC track team he has the raw speed to score any time he touches the ball. Jones proved he could consistently break chunk plays all season having at least one play of 20+ yards in 11 of 13 games.
Short Yardage – Jones is far from a power back yet he is able to make up for it in short yardage situations with vision and football IQ. A lot of backs in his situation bigger and even more so backs at his size in short yard situations will attempt to bounce outside or take chances trying to make a big play in the situation. Jones takes what is there in the hole, gets low and powers forward converting on the play. His ability to do this will allow for him to stay on the field in more situations and keep him from being spelled.
Size - The first complaint most people see with Jones is his lack of size. At 205 pounds questions arise on whether a running back can run between the tackles and hold up over the course of a season. The first part when it comes to running between the tackles doesn’t concern me, it’s the grind of the NFL season wearing him down that concerns me. During this season his volume went up at the end of the year but his yards per carry dropped, it’s just a matter of figuring out if it was the competition or getting beat up at his size.
Receiving Production - This is the most hotly debated downfall in Jones’s game his lack of receiving production. In his three years at USC Ronald Jones managed to only have 32 career receptions which are eye-opening, especially for a smaller back where that’s expected. His senior year was his best with 14 catches for 187 yards averaging 13.4 yards per reception which isn’t terrible but still bring questions on his game. At his pro day between the rain and some drops, nothing was added to help the argument so this will end up somewhat of a mystery until NFL camp starts.
Blocking - Sticking with the theme of size and third down questions is Ronald Jones’s ability as a blocker. Jones is a more than willing enough blocker but when he’s left alone against a defensive lineman or linebacker it’s not enough. With his limited blocking ability if Jones doesn’t develop as a pass catcher it could really keep him off of the field on third down.
Ronald Jones II is one of the most exciting prospects in this year’s NFL draft, he is explosive, twitched up and creative with the ball in his hands. Jones has the ability to take a play to the house any time he has the ball in his hand but is not afraid to take what the defense gives him. Some deficiencies in his blocking and receiving production to open up some questions on his workload and when he can be used. All in all, though Jones is an incredibly talented runner who could have a major impact on a team’s offense.
Jones should be up for consideration as a top 5 rookie pick in dynasty. If Jones lands into an offense that creates room for him to run he could have an immediate impact. Even in a timeshare backfield, his big-play ability should give him usable fantasy production right away. Keep an eye on reports for his receiving ability shown during camp because if he can get that together it will give him a huge bump in PPR formats. Jones has one of the most exciting ceilings in this year’s draft for rookies as well as a solid floor because of how well rounded of a runner he is.