Landry Jones and the hype machine

September 5th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

About three weeks ago I wrote this article about Landry Jones, that contained the following:

“Because he doesn’t have explosive physical talent or elite accuracy, you’re always going to be wondering whether he can cope with a much more demanding system and whether he’ll stand out. Teams will gamble on a Jake Locker ‘getting it’ because he looks like John Elway physically if not necessarily in terms of performance at this early stage in his career. Teams won’t always gamble on a guy with all the yards and scores you’d ever want, but with a lingering concern that without his vast array of swing passes and screens he’ll just be found out.”

When he faced Blaine Gabbert’s Missouri in 2010 with Oklahoma the newly crowned #1 team in the nation, Jones was very much the second best quarterback on display.

Tony Pauline has graded Jones as a round four level talent.

Our guest blogger Daniel also had some issues stating, “Jones runs hot and cold. When he’s hot, I think “yeah, this guy could go in round 1″ but he’s cold way too much to actually be worth that grade. Even if he improves this year I would remain skeptical. I think, ironically, Jones will be given the benefit of the doubt in terms of the “spread offense” he plays in due to the success of Bradford and a few other QBs in the NFL. In truth, he looks much less developed playing in the same offense as his predecessor and I firmly believe that at another college he would be viewed as a guy with a big arm who is inconsistent and inaccurate.”

Landry Jones is not an elite quarterback prospect, whether that’s on a physical grade, accuracy grade or playmaking grade. He plays in a system that provides mass production and he is a product of that winning scheme. He is alongside a group of other quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill jostling to be the second level guys teams looks at if they don’t get a shot at the big two of Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. Let’s not mess around here, there’s a grand canyon’s difference in talent between Luck and Barkley and the rest – including Jones.

In an era when Christian Ponder is worth the #12 pick, I think there’s every chance Jones will also be drafted above his means and be a high round one pick. He’s not worth top end grades, not yet anyway. Having had the opportunity to watch Geno Smith (QB, WVU) again this weekend, I’m wondering whether he’s worth a higher grade than Jones.

Sam Bradford’s success should play no part in discussing Jones, but I can’t help but feel his excellence is vaulting Jones above his means. The pair are unrelated apart from the fact they attended the same school. Bradford won a Heisman at OU, dominated in such a smothering fashion and was quite frankly sensational. Jones doesn’t even scratch the surface in comparison.

I don’t want to sound too repetitive, but there are two franchise quarterbacks who will be eligible to declare for 2012. There’s some depth after that and teams may well find a star. We could see a late flourisher or a player may emerge from nowhere (see: Cam Newton). Even so, I wouldn’t want to be spending much more than a R2 pick on anyone other than Luck and Barkley at this stage.

14 Responses to “Landry Jones and the hype machine”

  1. Colin says:

    It may not mean much, but I’ve simply watched a few interviews of Landry Jones and Matt Barkley and saw a big difference in the two. One guy was confident, sharp and concise. Very attractive features. The other was like listening to Peter Griffin from Family Guy. Sloppy, mentally seemed out of it and honestly didn’t get off the vibe of “the guy”.

    Barkley talked like a guy I want at my press conferences after games. Landry Jones absolutely did not.

    • Rob says:

      Never heard Jones interviewed funnily enough, but rest assured I’ll be imagining Peter Griffin every time I do from now on!

  2. CalHawk says:

    What do you think PCJS would be willing to pay to grab one of the top two QBs? Would two first rounders and a couple second rounders be too much to pay to move into the #1 -3 spot to grab one of them?

    • Rob says:

      It wouldn’t be too much for a franchise quarterback and I’m in favor of being aggressive. However, you better not miss on a QB having made that level of investment. I suspect it will cost at least that to get a shot at Luck/Barkley if you’re not in the top five.

  3. Darnell says:

    What it will cost will depend on where your pick is. If I recall the Jets traded a lot of their draft and some players in order to move into the top 5 to get Sanchez – I believe they came up from the early 20s. The Hawks will have overachieved if they are in the 20s.

    • Rob says:

      The Jets situation was quite unique though. Eric Mangini had just switched from New York to Cleveland and was willing to bypass heavy draft stock to collect three of his former players. The deal was something like R1 in 2009, R2 in 2009 and three players. It’s rare that you get a team so keen to collect players like, it almost has to be exclusive to a coach or GM that just switched teams.

  4. ba_edwards24 says:

    Rob, I figured you’d wanna know that a guy whom I respect a lot over at Elder- also has similar concerns with Jones. He even discovered a “red flag” that Jones can’t handle pressure up the middle at all. He specifically noted that he can handle pressure fine from the outside, but is terrible in both mechanics, poise, and identification of interior pressure and blitzes. He said he noticed it just this week v. Tulsa. I think it’s something we should all look for going forward.

  5. Luke Peters says:

    Landry Jones write up from Buffalo bills draft.

    That’s not a bad write up at all. He’ll show all against FSU how he handles pressure because it won’t get any tougher than a national night game.

    Shows solid mechanics, gets the ball out quickly, does get flat footed at times and fails to step into some throws (Broyles deep ball).

    -Shows good coverage recognition post snap, was really effective in v. zone coverage.

    -We loved the way he sold the play action pass, really emphasizes the fake and hides the ball well.

    -We have questions about Jones arm strength, we think its good enough to make all the throws but when he fails to step into his throws he can short arm them.

    -He goes through his progressions well, though he usually only had 1-2 primary reads before he checked down.

    -Looked calm and collective while scanning the defense, this was probably the biggest positive change we saw from last year.

    -The best throw he made all night was a TD pass to Broyles that he put on Broyles back shoulder, showed us he’s so accurate with the football that he can place it anywhere he wants.

    -The big red flag we saw with Jones was how poorly he handles pressure up the middle. When Jones faced pressure coming straight at him he forced throws, threw off his back foot and refused to step into the throw and take a hit. He would throw the ball and immediately look to duck or turn his body to avoid the hit.

    -We saw him handle pressure coming from the side just fine, but up the middle he looked panicked and unable to make the proper throw.

    • Rob says:

      It’s a mixed review full of positives and negatives – the same as most I’ve read and similar to the points I and others (such as Tony Pauline – who gave him a R4 grade) have offered.

      • Luke Peters says:

        Do you want to know what is ironic? Those were the exact attributes and write up that Tom Brady received in 1999.

        I was in Vegas for the millenium and watched Brady disect a good Bama squad in the Orange Bowl in that classic game. Got to see both Alexander and Hutch, too.

        Brady had that same pocket prescense and composure, same arm, same command, same slight move to the left in the pocket, similar accuracy and didn’t like up the gut pressure. Brady was in similar form as what is being said about Landry Jones.

        I’m not saying that Landry Jones is the next Brady but plenty of scouts like yourself view what you want to view but don’t see the potential upside at the next level.

        It’s not 20/20 but I never understood why Brady went in round 6 and after scrubs from Hostra like GCarmozzi and SWynn, who played nobody.

        LJones isn’t perfect but when you look at the competition he’s faced, especially last year, the next step to the NFL will be a smooth transition. He already faced Prince & Dennard, Jimmy Smith & Jalil Brown, the Brown bro’s and AWilliams at Texas, the ballers at FSU and succeeded in each game.

        Landry Jones is ready for the next level and you’ll see soon enough. I’ve read plenty of scouts that can’t rate talent so I don’t care who writes that Jones is a R4 prospect. I read the same stuff about Brady and Tom showed incredible skill in that Orange Bowl game, his last as a collegian.

        I think 80% of GM’s are clueless and most scouts fall into that same category.

        • Rob says:

          I’m loathe to start comparing prospects to Tom Brady – because he is a one in a million. I don’t see a lot of Brady in Jones personally, but that’s your view. Whether scouts and coaches are over rated or not is a different debate but this is a game of opinions and people are allowed to have a different view of Jones. There are things I like about Jones, and others that make me really hesitant to invest a handcuff early pick. My grade is R2-3 based on 2010 tape, and I look forward to watching the game against FSU this weekend.

          • Luke Peters says:

            I’m talking the comparison to Brady at Michigan and especially that final Orange Bowl game against Bama.

            Brady took a lot of snaps from the gun, did a couple of roll outs, threw down the seam with accuracy, that same left movement to his left and throwing with accuracy.

            David Terrill had a huge game that elevated his draft stock but Brady was overlooked. I never understood it. Yet, scouts picked him a part and he fell to round 6.

            There are a lot of similarities and nobody thought Brady was 1 in 1m back in 1999.

            In fact, most write ups included the same analysis you have for Landry Jones. We’ll find out next season.

            I look forward to your FSU / OU analysis and hope you show both positives and negatives of Jones’ play.

            I expect 2 interceptions and a few poor throws under duress. I also expect to see Jones throw 2+ Td’s, display that pocket composure that will resemble Brady at Michigan and lead OU to a “W” in a hostile night environment. It’ll be a barn burner of a game.

            FSU will be a very tough test but should be the litmus for Jones’ R1 grade.

            Thanks for your website and being diplomatic when my typing gets out of control.