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New York Jets Off the Clock: Sixth-Round Pick Cornerback Derrick Jones, Ole Miss Rebels
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18 May 2017 04:41 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Ole Miss Rebels Derrick Jones celebrates touchdown. (Image Source: Butch Dill/Getty Images)

The New York Jets had nine picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, with six coming on Day 3. As we take the Jets “Off the Clock,” we’ll break down all nine of their draft picks, concluding with the final of their three sixth-round selections:

Round 6; Pick 20 (204th Overall): CB Derrick Jones, Ole Miss

Measurables: Lighter than fellow sixth-round pick Jeremy Clark at 188 pounds, Jones is very long at 6’2” with only three taller corners drafted. He was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but had a very impressive performance at the Ole Miss pro day. Back in Oxford, Jones put up a 4.44 40-yard dash, to go along with whopping jumps. His 11’8” broad jump and 41” vertical jump would have been the best among all corners in Indianapolis.

Skill Set: While inexperienced, Jones has the length to play press corner with the makeup speed needed to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage. An explosive athlete, the Ole Miss product is a raw prospect but has tools that cannot be taught. During his time as a Rebel he played on both sides of the ball, switching back-and-forth from offense to defense. The ability to play receiver in the SEC is an indication of the type of tracking ability and ball skills Jones has.   

New York Jets Off the Clock: Off Needs | Def Needs | Jamal Adams | Marcus Maye | ArDarius Stewart | Chad Hansen | Jordan Leggett | Dylan Donahue | Elijah McGuire | Jeremy Clark |

Value: Most draft prognosticators projected Jones as an undrafted free agent. With only seven career starts (four as a freshman, three as a senior), his college career didn’t warrant a draft selection so the Jets may have reached with their final pick.  

Need: Projected starters Morris Claiborne (one-year deal) and Buster Skrine (likely cap casualty) might be gone after the upcoming season, while recent draftees Dexter McDougal and Juston Burris have yet to prove anything at this level. Cornerback was a major need, especially with an eye towards the future.

Mogollon’s Pick: With Jones not really on my radar I would have been tempted by the pass-rushing potential of Northwestern defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (No. 220). A productive sack master in college, Odenigbo tested well at the combine, flashing the athleticism needed to transition to outside linebacker.

Who Else Did They Pass Up? Other more proven college corners still on the board included Florida State’s Marquez White (No. 216) and Jalen Myrick (No. 216) out of Minnesota. They could have taken a flyer on an offensive tackle with size, like 6’8” Conor McDermott (No. 211) from UCLA or Ole Miss’s 331-pounder Justin Senior (No. 210). Quarterback Brad Kaaya (No. 216) was projected to go higher by many and would have been an intriguing choice this deep into the draft.

NFL Draft OTC: Picks 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-20, 21-24, 25-28, 29-32, By State; Giants OTC: Needs | Evan Engram | Dalvin Tomlinson |

The Fit: He’s raw, but Jones has the speed, length, and explosiveness to be the type of aggressive press corner that head coach Todd Bowles prefers to have in his defenses.  

2017 Outlook & Beyond: Like Jeremy Clark, Jones will have to earn his way onto the team, most likely as a special teams contributor, where he has the ability to excel in coverage units. It’s possibly the Jets could stash him onto the practice squad for a season as he develops. While he wouldn’t have been my choice, Jones has the size and athleticism to start in the NFL. Whether he gets there or not, who knows, but he brings a much higher ceiling than most picks this late in the draft.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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