The Buffalo Bills have several needs on both sides of the ball that they’ll look to address during free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft. However, General Manager Doug Whaley has stated on numerous occasions that despite Tyrod Taylor’s success in his first year as a starter, the team will add another quarterback in the draft. Today, we’ll look at Ohio State’s Cardale Jones.
Jones, originally the 3rd-string quarterback on the roster, through injury walked onto the field in 2014 and not only survived, but thrived in the role, winning a national title in his 3 starts during the first NCAA college playoff.
A three star recruit that played for the venerable Ted Ginn, Sr. at Glenville High School in Ohio, Cardale Jones redshirted his first year at Ohio State. In 2014, his redshirt sophomore year, he had the unenviable task of winning a big ten championship and two playoff games in order to lead Ohio State to a National Championship – which he did.
In that span, Jones amassed 860 yards passing for 60.9% completion, 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions passing, with 296 yards and 1 touchdown rushing.
In 2015, Jones amassed 1,460 yards passing (62.5% completion) with 8 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and rushed for 193 yards with 2 touchdowns on the ground.
His 2015 season did not end as well, being benched for his backup and entering the 2016 draft field undefeated as a starter – but not starting for a playoff contender.
Cardale Jones Physical Tools
Cardale Jones is 6’5 and 253 pounds – and is every bit of it on the field.
Having a player with these tools on a third down, whether he’s passing:
or running the ball:
Cardale Jones Arm Talent
Cardale Jones has a really strong arm and has no respect for a defensive back covering his receivers downfield.
While you’ll see many “wow” throws in Cardale’s arsenal deep, it’s the ‘NFL open’ throws that make him dangerous when he’s on his game.
Cardale is essentially two players in one. When calm and confident, he’s a gun slinger that’ll challenge any blade of grass on the field with zero fear.
While he still is raw, when you see Jones look a safety off and commit to a throw like this, you sit up and pay attention:
Because of his size and when he’s confident, he will sit in the pocket and absorb whatever hit he has to in order to get the ball to the receiver.
When he’s rattled, he’s going to hold onto the ball too long. He’s going to panic – and he can commit fatal (or near fatal) errors.
His throws become very erratic (as with most QBs) when the footwork and the throw aren’t married up as well:
In terms of mobility, Jones is too big to be missed on the field, so when he decides to run, it’s a mack truck going down the highway.
Seeing Jones run at future high picks in the ‘Bama front seven was one of the crazier things I’ve seen players do in the past few years. But, Jones made it work without being put in traction so you have to appreciate it.
Overview/Potential Fit With Buffalo Bills
Of the prospects I’ve written about thus far, I am unabashedly a big fan of Cardale Jones’, despite the benching. While the prior candidates are also good choices to sit and develop, Cardale is someone I think fits (for better or worse) as an offensive avatar for Rex Ryan. Cardale on his best day is brash, arrogant in an athletic way that he backs up and has the propensity to be a killer on the field. However, he needs time to grow into that role and a team that is all-in with it. That sounds very cliche, but because of his youth and relative inexperience at the position, coaching with patience and having an organization that knows him and wants to develop him as he is will reap benefits from it.
It’s quite simple to me – if you want Cardale Jones, you also are all in on sitting him until he’s confident in the offense and from there can act with confidence. If you want to pull the EJ “he’s what we got” you risk putting him into a blender and setting said blender to “puree”.