2022 NFL draft scouting report: Connecticut DT Travis Jones

·3 min read

Connecticut DT Travis Jones

6-foot-4
325 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.05 — possible first-rounder; possible immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report

Massive, broad-framed interior dominator who offers little pass-rush value but can have major impact in the right system

The skinny

A 3-star Rivals recruit as an offensive tackle in the Class of 2018, Jones chose the nearby Huskies after initially committing to Rutgers. He switched to defensive tackle and started 10 of 12 games as a freshman, notching 55 tackles (5.5 TFLs) and 0.5 sacks. In 2019, Jones totaled 40 tackles (six TFLs), 3.5 sacks and one fumble recovery. He opted out of the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic but returned in 2021 to start 11 games (one missed with a foot injury) and logged 47 tackles (7.5 TFLs) and 4.5 sacks. Jones competed at the 2022 Senior Bowl.

UConn's Travis Jones is one of the top defensive tackle prospects in this NFL draft. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
UConn's Travis Jones is one of the top defensive tackle prospects in this NFL draft. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Upside

  • Mass of humanity with wide build and great length — 34 1/4-inch arms and 10 1/4-inch hands

  • Eye-opening combine workout — strong results in the 40, broad jump, 3-cone drill

  • Good stamina — 50-plus snaps in more than half his college games

  • Harnesses brute power, stemming from a thick lower half

  • Good upper-body strength to steer and toss opponents

  • Toys with smaller blockers if he gains early control

  • Gets great arm extension to keep blockers out of his frame

  • Surprisingly proficient hand battler, and not just with power

  • Good straight-line burst forward — takes a beeline to the backfield

  • Unfazed by contact — bullies his way through and seldom denied

  • Dominant run-stopping ability — can anchor the middle of a defense

  • Relentless approach — wants to steamroll his man

  • Humiliated some blockers in Senior Bowl one-one-one battles

  • Can fit in the middle of both odd and even fronts

  • Ideal two-gapping frame and game

  • Glimmer of pass-rush potential evident late in 2021 season and at Senior Bowl

  • Faced constant doubles on undermanned defense — focal point of every opponent

  • Could really flourish on a talented D-line

Downside

  • Some of his testing numbers didn't translate from tape — not as quick on the field

  • Lack of explosion in combine vertical jump (29 inches)

  • Stiffness in some of his movements

  • Inconsistent get-off — could dominate with more consistent quickness off the ball

  • Not very effective stunting or twisting

  • Stalemated more than you'd like to see

  • Won't make many plays working down the line

  • Can rush too upright at times

  • Technique vs. doubles isn't always clean or sound

  • Positional limitations — possible 5-technique but likely best fit as a nose tackle

  • Hard to imagine high pass-rush potential, even with improvements

  • Wasn't a big playmaker — zero forced fumbles, one recovery in 35 career games

Best-suited destination

Jones can upgrade a run defense from Day 1. He likely figures to be a starting nose tackle early in his career, with the potential to chip in as a 4i or 5-technique for teams running an odd front. Jones' power should translate immediately to the next level, and seeing fewer double teams can't hurt. Although he likely never will be a big sack producer, his impact should be felt inside in almost any front.

Player comp

Linval Joseph

Expected draft range

Late first to early second round