Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is the fifth of nine 2013 NFL Draft quarterback prospects that Buffalo Rumblings will profile this off-season. Jones is the most experienced starting quarterback among the top nine signal callers in the class, winning 39 games and three bowl games as a collegian. Yet, Jones crumbled in pressure situations at times, and played poorly in some big games. There are questions about Jones' mental toughness and ability to lead an NFL team to a championship.
Landry Jones | QB | Oklahoma
- 6'4 1/8", 225 pounds
- Started 50 games over four seasons (39-11 record, 3-1 in bowl games)
- Career stats: 1,388/2,183 (63.6% completions), 16,646 yards (7.6YPA), 123 TD, 52 INT
Physically, Jones is what NFL teams are looking for in a pocket passer. He's big with a very good arm. He's sturdy and can absorb some of the punishment that a pocket passer is bound to take. He's similar to Tom Brady in terms of mobility - he has just enough to get around the pocket, but not much more. Where he differs from draft prospect Brady is in arm strength. Jones' arm is above average and he can make all NFL throws. Jones has thrown from under center and the shotgun, and his footwork, balance, and mechanics are all top-shelf.
Jones has the accuracy needed to fire into NFL passing windows. He's proven in the short passing game, something that the Oklahoma scheme emphasized. When Jones threw downfield, he was also very accurate, especially on the fade route and seam routes. I think Jones has untapped potential as a vertical passer. Oklahoma's offense schemed to create matchups in the shorter passing windows. Jones did have some plays where he threw downfield, where he showed good potential. Jones may be best in a vertical timing passing game.
Jones seems to be a leader. He's passionate, a hard worker, and takes the game seriously. His film study shows in game situations - he rarely lost to the same school twice in his four-year career. He's played 50 games for one of the best programs in college football, regularly played well, and won 39 games, including a 3-1 record in bowl games. Jones went 3-1 against Texas in the Red River Shootout, arguably Oklahoma's biggest game of every season, winning his last three games against the Longhorns.
As mentioned above, Jones is not a great athlete for the position, and he's not a good mover. He's a pure pocket passer that's going to need to play behind a good offensive line that can keep a pass rush off him. Jones also has small hands for a large man, and ball security is going to be an issue. Again, playing behind a good offensive line will benefit Jones in more than one way.
Jones gets panicked at times. His reads at Oklahoma were nearly all timing-based off reads, and any pressure that disrupted that timing disrupted Jones, particularly if the defense could combine a strong pass rush with coverage that could take away Jones' initial passing options. Jones made a lot of simple high-low reads at Oklahoma, and while he's plenty intelligent, he's not experienced reading the entire field, and may have a learning curve reading the whole field in the NFL.
Jones' poor play in big moments is hard to explain. He's looked like the best quarterback in college football one game, and average the next. That type of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality sometimes happened drive-to-drive in the same game. Against Kansas State, he drove his team like Andrew Luck between the 20s, then crumbled in the red zone. Why this happens needs to be explored.
Jones seems to be a Buddy Nix type of quarterback. He played 50 games in college football over four seasons. He's a big, strong, able pocket passer that can fire the ball all over the field. He's intelligent, has a strong grasp of offensive concepts, and can implement them on the field. At times, many times, he's looked like the best quarterback in college football over the past four years.
What gives? Why isn't this kid the consensus number one pick? He might have some confidence issues, so I read. I don't buy it. Go read about his proposal to his wife, Britney Hand. Listen to him interview with Jon Gruden on the FFCA. I don't think this kid has a confidence issue at all. He should come across like Trent Edwards, but he comes across like a fiery kid. He looks and sounds like a supremely confident person.
Here's what I think: Jones is a vertical passer that got stuck in Oklahoma's short passing offense, with tons of predicated reads and plays called and adjusted from the sidelines. He's far more capable that what he was doing at Oklahoma, and I think he got frustrated. That does't explain the big moment issues, though, nor does it explain the depression issues he had as a redshirt freshman. Teams need to figure that out. From what I see, Jones has two possible career routes. He could be a Brady-esque pick, with many team passing on him only to watch him develop into a big time quarterback. Or he could be Todd Collins, a college quarterback with a quality pedigree that never pans out because the pressure moments are too big for him.