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Thoughts on Buffalo Bills second-round pick Zay Jones

Jones was a reception-machine in college, but his film left me scratching my head.

Last night, I absolutely loved the Buffalo Bills pick of Tre’Davious White. I can’t say the same for their selection of Zay Jones in Round 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jones was my No. 14 wideout in the draft class.


His film was extremely frustrating from an evaluation standpoint, due to East Carolina’s super-gimmicky offense.

While he led the NCAA in catches with 158, it seemed like 125 of them were either on some type of screen play or shallow cross.

He did flash impressive wiggle on some of those screens, but most of the time, a hoard of defenders were around him when he caught the football, because every defense knew he was going to get a ridiculous amount of quick-strike targets. He averaged 11.1 yards-per-catch in 2016. During his record-setting 22-grab game against South Carolina, he averaged 8.6 yards per reception. Strange, right?

I made a mention of Jones in my final positional rankings article. This is what I wrote:

While I think Zay Jones can be a solid No. 2 in the NFL, his evaluation was just so difficult because he was force-fed the ball on a plethora of gimmicky short passes at East Carolina.

There were some high-pointing grabs, yet he wasn’t consistent in that area for being a 6’2” wideout.

I felt I couldn’t rank him very high — despite his immense production — mostly because I didn’t know what I was getting with him, and his film didn’t feature a lot of dynamic plays.

I tweeted this on April 12:

Fit-wise, it’s logical for Buffalo, as his wide receiver coach at East Carolina — Phil McGeoghan — is now the Bills wide receiver coach. Beyond that, clearly, he has an almost unfathomable amount of experience running and getting YAC on short, horizontal routes, the staple of a West Coast Offense.

Athletically, Jones stunned at the combine, because his film didn’t demonstrate a very quick-twitch athlete or a pass-catcher with significant speed.

At 6’2” and 201 pounds, he ran 4.45, had a 36 1/2” vertical, 133” broad jump, and blazing three-cone time of 6.79.

Jones can be a decent second option, I just don’t know who’ll he’ll be as a part of an NFL offense.