Is the 2019 NFL Draft going to add a sleeper safety heading into the 2019 off-season, with the rising Texas football junior Brandon Jones?
The 2019 NFL Draft is looming in less than five months now, after it seems like the 2018 NFL Draft just passed by a few months ago. The end of the 2018 campaign for the Texas football program is also just one day away, with the kick-off of the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs coming on New Years Day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA.
For the 2019 NFL Draft, there’s a host of player decisions to watch for Texas football and Georgia immediately following the Sugar Bowl. The top three 2019 NFL Draft decisions to watch for juniors from the Texas Longhorns are from wide receivers Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and safety Brandon Jones.
It seems as if the only two looming 2019 NFL Draft decisions that fans around the country, and national pundits, were watching of late were those of the stud junior Texas football wideouts Johnson and Humphrey. That almost left us to forget about one breakthrough junior for the Horns that could declare for the 2019 NFL Draft one year early if he so chooses.
That breakout player for the Horns is the former five-star highly touted recruit at safety, Brandon Jones. This year, Jones helped the Texas secondary become one of the more formidable in the Big 12. He’ll also be a much needed factor for head coach Tom Herman and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando to limit the balanced and skilled Georgia offense in the Sugar Bowl.
Jones set career highs in pretty much every major stat category for a safety this year. He racked up two interceptions, 5.5 tackles for loss, 66 total tackles, and two fumble recoveries thus far in 2018. He could add to those numbers with a solid outing in the Sugar Bowl.
However, the 2019 NFL Draft status of Jones could be severely impacted by his performance in the Sugar Bowl. An offense chalked full of NFL-caliber talent, like Georgia’s, is a true test of what Jones can do with attention from NFL scouts on the national stage.
According to 247Sports, Jones needs to make his decision whether to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft or return to the Forty Acres for his final year of eligibility by Jan. 15. One thing that surely swayed his decision to some degree was the feedback he received from the College Advisory Committee.
Although Jones didn’t disclose the grade he received for the 2019 NFL Draft from the advisory committee, he did state that he was “pleased with the feedback”. Johnson was the only of the three players for the Horns that disclosed that he didn’t get the feedback he desired from the advisory committee.
Most 2019 NFL Draft pundits don’t have much of a scouting report, or even a spot for Jones among the safeties, in the class rankings. Draft Scout did give Jones the credit of being the second best free safety for the 2020 NFL Draft class. But, declaring early would alter that positioning in the class rankings if he goes in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-0 and 210 pound safety has elite range and ball skills. He is a next level safety that has a very high ceiling when he decides to take his game to the NFL. The emergence he had during the 2018 regular season is proof that he starting to rise to the level of potential he showed during his recruitment.
Most of the wise words for Jones would say that he should return to the Forty Acres one more year to refine his game before he goes into the NFL Draft. But, this is his decision in the end, and it should be respected whichever way he decides to lean following the Sugar Bowl.