NFL Draft: Boston College CB Elijah Jones named ‘Day 3 fit’ for Colts

Gordon McGuinness of PFF named Boston College cornerback Elijah Jones as a ‘Day 3 fit’ for the Colts in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Here is what McGuinness had to say about the pick:

“Jones had the best season of his college career in 2023, earning an 89.8 PFF coverage grade that ranked fifth among cornerbacks in this draft class. He surrendered only 13 catches and racked up 11 combined interceptions and pass breakups from 257 coverage snaps.”

Jones measures in at over 6-1 and weighs 185 pounds–a bit on the lighter side. He would record an elite Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.63, which inlcuded a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, along with elite vertical and broad jump numbers.

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A bit of a late-bloomer in terms of production goes, Jones is a very experienced player, with over 2,700 career defensive snaps during his six-year playing career. Jones has also played 457 special teams snaps primarily across three different units as well.

Just about all of his playing time has come on the boundary, although he does have some brief slot experience. Jones allowed a career completion rate of 49.3 percent at 13.0 yards per catch with 30 pass breakups and seven interceptions.

In 2023 specifically, Jones was one of PFF’s highest-graded cover corners, surrendering a completion rate of only 32.5 percent with five interceptions and six pass breakups. He’s also been a mostly reliable tackler during his career.

For more on Jones, here is what’s Lance Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft report:

“Scheme-dependent cornerback with excellent length and above-average ball skills to harass and overtake lesser receivers when it’s time to make the catch. Jones is a slender press-man corner with Cover 3 potential. His press is more irritating than disruptive, but he does a solid job of tracing routes and attacking throws for forced incompletions and interceptions. He can be beaten by route runners in off-man and can be late to open and chase vertical routes, creating long-ball opportunities. His long arms should help him compete against more muscular receivers when it’s time to stop the catch, but he won’t offer much in run support. Teams valuing ball production and length will move him up the board as a Day 2 prospect with CB3 upside.”

With ‘Cover-3 potential,’ as Zierlein put it, Jones can be a good fit for Gus Bradley’s defense, with his experience playing in a single-high heavy defensive system at Boston College. Jones will, however, have to continue to get more comfortable playing zone, in a league where that increasingly has become the norm.

Cornerback is one of the bigger needs that the Colts have. They have young, talented depht on the roster, as GM Chris Ballard discussed in his pre-draft press conference – so I’m not sure how likely it is that they double-dip at the position in the draft – but added competition for that starting spot across from JuJu Brents could be valuable.

Given Jones’ fit, along with his size and athletic testing, he could be a good option for Ballard if he goes in a different direction during the early portion of the draft.

Jones is PFF’s 225th rated prospect overall and the 29th ranked cornerback in what is considered a fairly deep draft class.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire