As such, when there are offensive linemen capable of handling the weekly "Murderer's Row" of SEC defensive linemen, they earn high -- sometimes surprisingly high -- grades from pro scouts.
Perhaps because of the commonality of his name or the fact that he's been overshadowed by skill position players and even fellow offensive linemen while at Georgia, but few fans realize how highly regarded Jones is in the scouting community.
Jones possesses a prototypical NFL frame for the position as well as relatively good athletiicsm and technique. A durable, consistent performer who enters his fourth season as the Bulldogs' starting center, Jones looks to be in good position to be among the first centers drafted in 2012.
Pass Blocking: Good initial quickness and recognition. Makes the line calls here. Impressive anchor. Absorbs some big punches against quicker, powerful DTs/NGs and after a short step back is able to hold his ground well. Good lateral agility to slide and mirror. Looks for someone to hit when not covered up. Could gain more explosiveness in his initial punch or when helping others.
Run Blocking: Good initial quickness off the snap to turn and seal off the defender. Possesses good size and strength for the drive block, as well, but comes out lunging, at times, and doesn't have the balance to correct himself and recover. A bit inconsistent with his hand placement, as well, getting too low and leaving himself vulnerable to effective swim moves.
Pulling/Trapping: Not asked to pull from this scheme, but shows good initial quickness and recognition as a trap blocker. Allows the defender to sneak in and then shows good power to turn, seal off and often pancake his opponent.
Initial Quickness: Arguably his best trait. Possesses very good initial quickness in handling snap responsibilities (adept at shotgun, regular) while getting his hands up to handle the middle. Efficiently gets to the second level.
Downfield: Though quick to the second level, Jones has only average lateral agility and balance, overall. He struggles a bit re-directing against moving targets and too often gets his hands outside of the pads (though he's rarely called for holding). Good effort downfield and when he is squared up on his target, he demonstrates some nastiness, resulting in some impressive pancake blocks.
Intangibles: Enters senior campaign with 35 career starts -- all of them at center. Was named to Georgia's Team of the Decade. Has been recognized throughout his career for leadership and toughness, including earning the offense's True Grit award at the conclusion of 2011 spring practice. Graduated early from high school to enroll at Georgia in January, 2008."
Struggles to consistently keep his base down initially and will allow defenders to get under him and can be overwhelmed into the backfield. Gets overextended into blocks and will lunge at times causing him to lose his balance as he tries to create an initial surge off the ball. Exhibits above average range when asked to pull.
Looks comfortable reaching targets off his frame in space, breaks down well, has a feel for the run game. Consistently locates and will finish on his man and is a “plus” run blocker on the move. Sets quickly in the pass game and does a much better job playing with an anchor vs. the bull rush.
Will get caught lunging at the point in to order to create more of a jolt, but quickly resets his feet and drops his base in order to hold the point. Needs to do a better job extending his arms into contact and delivering a more effective punch.
Is too much of a catcher who waits to work his hands and gain leverage once engaged. Would like to see him be more of the aggressor with his hands. Nevertheless, he slides his feet well and can mirror through contact and for the most part in space.
Impression: I think he would be better suited to play guard at the next level because of his struggles to hold his own inside when asked to quickly snap, step and get a push in the run game. However, is a coordinated athlete on the move, can mirror through contact, and looks like a potential starter. But isn’t the type of top-tier center prospect many are making him out to be at this stage."
Run Blocking: Much improved base this season. He’s a decent athlete at the position that can be effective as a move blocker. He breaks down well in the open field and will finish blocks. He has a tendency to get overextended and reach for defenders which causes him to lose balance and fall off blocks.
Bottom Line: Ben Jones is a little overrated for me. There are some second round grades on him that I don’t see. He could develop into a starter but I don’t see anything that would make me think he’s got any Pro Bowl potential. Maybe a solid spot starter and backup.
Draft Projection: 3-4."
Has very good size, plays with bend, balance, and leverage and has sterling intangibles for the position, including outstanding smarts, toughness and leadership.
Is not an explosive mover or a power player and lacks ideal arm length.
However, he is quick to snap and step, can shuffle and mirror, and understands how to angle and fit.
Is not a special athlete but should be able to start and be solid for years."
Also has decent flexibility with some lateral agility; good pass protector who can anchor against big bull rushers as well as slide around pocket picking up blitzers; plays hard and will sustain blocks to the whistle;
Technical aspects of game could be polished, though, as he will lunge on occasion and lose his balance; could also use hands better and doesn’t always get good arm extension and allows defenders to get into his pads."
Uses his hands well to keep defenders from getting inside of his pads and controlling his leverage.... His height will give him a leverage advantage in the NFL... When going against taller and bigger defenders he can use his low base and good footwork to gain leverage on his opponent...
Drives his feet on contact; keeps his hands and feet moving in the passing game to block defenders.... Seems to have a good knowledge of protection schemes and can snap with the quarterback either under center or from the shotgun, has experience in a pro-style offense.
Negatives -- Not an overly impressive player by any right, doesn't really stand out or do anything particularly well... Not as big as you would like him to be, doesn't have elite size or athleticism.... Not an incredible run blocker by any stretch of the imagination... Seems to have a hard time locating his block out of his stance...
Gets pushed off the line of scrimmage or off his block easily, appears to simply get overpowered at times... Rarely see him moving forward or keeping a pass rush at the line of scrimmage... Doesn't always break down well in space but generally gets in the way of defender... More of a wall-off blocker than actual contact maker in space...
Doesn't have great speed to get to the second level... Seems to have a hard time recognizing his blocks, just tries to get a chip on the defender... Poor snapper out of the shotgun, spends too much time looking at the quarterback rather than reading the defense.