A comment in the previous article from a user named James suggested the Jaguars could look for a cornerback or a undersized linebacker to convert to safety in a draft class with a poor pool of safeties.
I’ve read everywhere that the safety crop is pathetic. Are there any CB’s or undersized LB’s that could make a transition?
Finding linebackers to make the transition can be difficult, but many young, tall cornerbacks are able to make the transition to safety while they adjust to the speed of the NFL. The Jaguars’ Don Carey was drafted as a cornerback before making the switch to safety. The Jaguars made the transition for Rashean Mathis from Bethune Cookman easier by playing him at free safety his rookie season.
Northwest Missouri State’s Ryan Jones has the size and instincts necessary to make that switch and be a starting free safety for the Jaguars. Furthermore, he has the size and athleticism necessary to become a starting cornerback for the Jaguars.
When looking at players making the transition from Division II to the NFL, the question is asked: Did they dominate at the small school level? Ryan Jones dominated. After redshirting in 2006, Jones saw action in all but one game over the next four years. After tallying three interceptions in his first two seasons as a backup corner, Jones was a force to be reckoned with his junior and senior season.
After five interceptions and 55 tackles in his junior season, Jones followed with six interceptions and 56 tackles his senior year, despite teams generally throwing away from him. Two of his interceptions during his senior year were returned for touchdowns.
For Jones, athleticism is likely not going to be a problem as he tries to make the transition. At 5’11, 197 pounds his size is good and his 4.3-4.4 speed is more than enough to be successful. Most important for Jones will be his ability to improve upon his technique as a corner when he’s no longer matched up against Division II wide recievers.
Jones is still a work in progress, as he’s been able to be more of an athlete playing cornerback at the D-II level, relying on his athletic skill set to make plays. He seems to be working hard at his trade, as his technique was improved at the NFLPA game. – Wes Bunting, National Football Post
Josh Buchanan described Jones as a player that can make an immediate impact on special teams. With his athleticism and skill set, Ryan Jones is likely going to warrant a late round pick in the draft.