Keon Coleman reassures Jaguars fans that Jarrian Jones is a keeper

• The Jaguars have earned scrutiny for drafting Jarrian Jones in Round 3

• Bills WR Keon Coleman has nothing but praise for his former teammate

Nov 18, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jarrian Jones (7)
Nov 18, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jarrian Jones (7) / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars earned a bit of criticism for not addressing the cornerback position early in the 2024 NFL Draft. Even though it was one of their biggest needs, they waited until Round 3 to select Jarrian Jones. Some analysts have suggested that Jones was a reach, but former teammate Keon Coleman says that the Jaguars found a keeper.

Coleman, who went to the Buffalo Bills in Round 2, made an appearance on RG3 and The Ones and told host Robert Griffin III that Jacksonville has a very versatile cornerback in Jones.

"You want him to go lock down the slot, or do you want him to the field and jump every route? It's up to you, so you're getting a very versatile defensive guy that's gonna come up and tackle," Coleman said. "He's gonna make plays. He can play man, he can play zone. You're gonna do a lot. You can blitz him off the edge. You gotta to be a good nickel, you gotta blitz. If you wanna be a good nickelback, you gotta be able to come off the edge."

When the Jaguars were on the clock at No. 17, no cornerback had been drafted, so they could've called dibs on whichever they wanted. However, they chose to trade down and selected wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. Then in the second round, some of the top corners were still available but the front office went with defensive tackle Maason Smith at No. 48. It wasn't until the third round that they selected Jones with the 96th pick.

Jones was No. 145 in the consensus board, so the case could be made that the Jaguars took him 49 spots earlier than they should have. Heck, they could've waited until Round 4 and he might've been available. Brent Sobleski, for one, thinks that taking the former Florida State Seminole was most definitely a reach.

While Sobleski likes Jones and speed, he believes that his hip tightness and pad level hinder his change of direction.

"The 6'0", 190-pound defensive back is blazing fast in a straight line and capable of running with anyone down the field. However, he's not as fluid in change-of-direction movements, as indicated by a 4.3-second short shuttle.

Bleacher Report scout Cory Giddings noted two major weaknesses in Jones' game: hip tightness and pad level. Both are indicators of a less fluid defensive back. Jones' 30-inch arms don't help matters, either."

Jones saw his stock rise after running the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, but his speed isn't the only thing he's got going for him. His aggressiveness, along with his ability to play him man or zone, should help him get acclimated to defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's press-heavy scheme.

Last year, Jones registered five passes defensed and three interceptions. On top of that, he didn't allow a single touchdown in 16 targets. Here's Coleman's exchange with Griffin. They discuss Jones at around the 36:40 mark.

Jarrian Jones has the tools to be a game-changer for the Jaguars

It's true that the Jaguars might've drafted Jones earlier than they should. Dane Brugler of The Athletic had him going in the sixth round, noting that he had to do a better job of picking routes if he wanted to succeed at the high level. Having said that, there are many things to like about the pick.

As Coleman noted, Jones is fast and has the versatility to line up either in the slot or the boundaries. Head coach Doug Pederson said after the draft that he envisions him playing nickel to start the season but it wouldn't be shocking to eventually see him play outside at one point.

Even though it's hard to call Jones a sleeper, that's precisely what the Jaguars are getting. He's got the potential to become a steady contributor. Maybe the front office took a chance on him because they have Ronald Darby and Tyson Campbell in the fold. And if he doesn't pan out, they can prioritize the corner position in next year's draft.

In the end, Jarrian Jones is a a bit of a project but you cannot deny that he's got the tools to develop into a starting cornerback. The selection does deserve skepticism but it also comes with plenty of upside.

Read more Jaguars news here: