Why the Raiders Should Draft Jarvis Jones


November 3, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jarvis Jones (29) chases Mississippi Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace (14) during the second quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When general manager Reggie McKenzie took over for the late Al Davis, he wanted to do things his way. In an effort to mark his stamp on the team, he released big name players, signed injury prone free-agents, and drafted talent aside from Davis’ traditional views.

Whether it’s right or wrong, McKenzie is cleaning house and determined to bring back the “commitment to excellence” his way. Now, with the Raiders currently owning one of the worst records in football at 4-10, they will most likely lock up a top five overall pick in next year’s draft. That’s a small consolation, but it gives the Raiders a new sense of hope.

After dissecting game-film of the Oakland Raiders this season, the one position clearly in need of improvement, is at the outside linebacker position. If current defensive coordinator Jason Tarver is to transition to a 3-4 base defense, they will need outside linebackers to fit that scheme. The Raiders struck gold or should I say silver, in the fourth-round, when they drafted San Diego State product Miles Burris last year. The other outside spot is still in question, though, as current outside linebacker Philip Wheeler is playing on a one-year contract.

So who should the Raiders select? In a draft class loaded with pass rushers and “tweeners,” I believe the clear-cut answer is Georgia’s outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. With the Kansas City Chiefs either drafting quarterback Geno Smith (West Virginia) or nose tackle Star Lotulelei (Utah) with the first pick, and with the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting tackle Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) quickly thereafter, that labels Jones as the “no-brainer” selection. Whether McKenzie drafts for “need” or “BPA” (best player available) you would not find it with this pick, as Jones satisfies both.

Jones, who is considered a “tweener,” can play either defensive end or outside linebacker. His quickness to get up field, and make plays behind the line of scrimmage, is almost second nature to him. This bodes well for a Raiders defense that currently ranks 27th against the pass. I’m a firm believer that it all starts up front and if McKenzie has the same ideology he would be wise to select Jones.

And why wouldn’t he? McKenzie is a former SEC linebacker himself, and if Tarver is implementing a 3-4 defense, he will definitely need a “tweener” to toy with. Now, things can definitely change as the combine, pro-day, and pre-draft visits come into play. If the draft were to start today, however, McKenzie would be wise to select Jarvis Jones.