With NFL Free Agency set to begin in a little over a week, it’s time to take a look at what players will be on the market and will have the potential to be on a different team come training camp. A position that is always a hot commodity once the signing period begins is CB. As passing attacks become even more powerful in the NFL, having good CBs is a must for teams looking to compete deep into January. Byron Jones is a jack of all trades type defensive back and has had good success as a corner his first five seasons in Dallas. While he doesn’t have the interception numbers that stand out for the leagues elite (just two in the five-year span), he does have 43 passes defended in the time span as well as 349 total tackles. Jones is a good player and should set himself up financially for some time this offseason depending on where he ends up, and who is willing to pay him.
In the clip below it is easy to see why Jones has drawn attention from multiple clubs this offseason. He is a fast fluid athlete and has a great transition. He is able to run step for step with the WR and goes up to swat the ball away. As a very lanky athletic player, it is easy to see why in 2018 he was named to the pro bowl roster as well as being an second-team all-pro selection.
Jones is also a very versatile defender and while showing that he can play tight man coverage and run with another team’s best receiver he also has the awareness to drop back and play zone. Here he perfectly baits Carson Wentz into throwing his way. Jones appears to be playing man and starts to drop back but his eyes never leave his zone and when Zach Ertz comes in to make the grab he lays a big hit to knock the ball out. Jones is a swat the ball out first type of player, he makes sure that the ball is uncatchable and puts his body out there to prevent grabs.
The ability to play tight man is on display again here, but as the receiver gets the outside release on Jones, it is apparent that Jones has excellent speed. He quickly goes from face guarding to being on the run and gets physical to knock the ball out. A recorded 4.36 40, combined with being 6ft1 and 200 pounds from his pro day at UConn is one of the reasons he ended up being a first-round pick by Dallas in 2015. He is a very savvy player and has great instincts to know when to break up a pass.
Being a bigger CB, Jones tackles very well, and combined with his speed he makes it hard for teams to run the ball to the boundary on him. His tackle form is really impressive. He doesn’t always take the best angles but his speed allows him to catch up to runners and he makes good fundamental tackles.
In this clip Jones saves a touchdown by preventing Todd Gurley from getting to the outside. He comes from depth moving past blockers and knocks down a stiff arm from Todd Gurley, running step for step with him and goes low to prevent a big run. This came during the 2019 divisional playoff game. Jones left it all on the field this game despite his team losing the game.
Byron Jones will be a prime corner that teams will want to target this upcoming free agency period. Without killer interception numbers it will be interesting to see if teams are willing to pay him as much as he might be looking to make. Without the big interception numbers, Jones’s price could still be in the range of several teams who might still be in the market for a corner this offseason.