The Los Angeles Rams generally select the best players available in the draft under general manager Les Snead. The plan has worked out at times, but the Rams have many needs this year, particularly at wide receiver. One player they may consider is East Carolina’s Isaiah “Zay” Jones if he’s available. Here’s a look at his strengths and weaknesses:
Pros: Standing at 6’2,” Jones is a taller prospect the Rams desperately need. Jones is also known for his excellent hands, which is something else the Rams have lacked. His awareness is phenomenal, allowing him to make spectacular catches inches away from the sidelines. He’s truly a fearless specimen, with the evidence being his willingness to catch the ball anywhere on the field. Jones is a polished route runner, and generally makes plays in this manner. He is great leader, and can make an impact as a rookie if he continues to be a student of the game.
Jones’s stats speak for themselves; in four years with the Pirates he accumulated 399 receptions, 4,279 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns. He recorded 1,746 receiving yards and eight touchdowns his senior year. He led the nation in receptions and finished second in receiving yards. Jones also contributed on special teams, out of the backfield, and even as a passer.
Cons: With strengths like the ones mentioned above, how do the Rams have any chance at him at pick 37? Well, Jones does struggle with creating separation. He doesn’t have the ideal burst an NFL wide receiver needs to lose defenders. The lack of burst also hurts him when catching the football. He likely won’t produce many yards after the catch. Essentially, he is a possession receiver only. He wasn’t keen on blocking either, which must change at the next level. Jones will also need to add more muscle mass, especially if he’s going to catch passes in the middle of the field like he did in college. The NFL has a way of “welcoming” ill-prepared rookies, and they will have no qualms knocking some sense into him.
Overall: Jones is a solid prospect who could be the receiver the Rams need. Having him line up opposite of Robert Woods could prove to be beneficial with both players being reliable on their pass catching. The Rams don’t need any more speedsters with guys like Tavon Austin and Pharoh Cooper on the team. It wouldn’t hurt to have a taller possession receiver on the roster, and it would certainly help Jared Goff. That said, even if Jones is available, don’t be too surprised if Snead selects someone else based on rarer talents. Jones is a safe pick, but it may be too safe for Snead.