04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Texans' picks: Round 4/99 - Ben Jones, C/G, 6-3, 304, Georgia...The second-ranked center in the draft cn also play guard, according to Texans coaches. He's a younger version of Pro Bowl center Chris Myers. - The Sports Xchange
The SEC is largely recognized as college football's most talented conference. Much of this sentiment is due to the conference's exorbitant talent along the defensive line. Put simply, the SEC churns out athletic big men with a frequency that other conferences simply haven't matched. 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 athleticism and technique.
A durable, consistent performer Jones started all four seasons of his career with the Bulldogs and looks the part of a long-time NFL starter.
Jones lacks the elite size or athleticism that has forced NFL teams to use first-round picks on centers in recent years. His relatively low "ceiling," could allow him to slip into the middle of the second day. There are few prospects at any position in the 2012 draft, however, with Jones' "floor." He may not be flashy, but should compete for a starting position immediately and has all of the intangibles to maintain that role for a long time.
Pass blocking: Good initial quickness and recognition. Made the line calls. 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: Started 48 games over his career -- all of them at center. He was twice named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week in 2011, earning it in back to back games against Auburn and New Mexico State. 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.