There are quite a few small school Cornerbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft, ranging from potential first round picks all the way down to the later rounds. One guy that'll get looks from teams in those late rounds is Division II Wayne State's Jeremy (J.J.) Jones.
Jones is a small, speedy corner that was quite accomplished for the Warriors. Jones was selected to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-American team, a pretty high honor. He also led his team to the Division II National Championship game, where they lost to Pittsburg State. Over his four year career he had 291 tackles, which is a ton for a CB. He had 17 career interceptions, and over 400 return yards, which is over 20 yards per return. He also knew his way around the back field with 24 tackles for loss, including 8.5 sacks. Seems that he knows a little bit more than just covering receivers.
Jones is a very team-oriented guy, and the Detroit Free Press relays some great proof of that:
In the Warriors' championship loss to Pittsburgh State, Jones had 14 tackles, a sack and a pass breakup, and even filled in as a kick returner after regular return man Josh Renel injured his foot.
"He's a competitor," [Wayne State coach Paul] Winters said. "That's the other thing that's going to help him. He's a tremendous competitor and I don't think anything will frighten him. The situation will never be too big for him."
To already have that mindset is a great step, especially when he'll most likely only contribute on special teams as a rookie, no matter the team he ends up on. That kind of attitude can play on my team any time.
After the jump we have what some draft sites have to say about Irvin, as well as all his measurements from the Combine and my thoughts on him.
Well-defined, quicker-than-fast, versatile Division II standout who can function in man or zone and supports the run aggressively.
Jones comes from unheralded Wayne State (located in Detroit, Mich.) and has decent size for the corner position. He is a very savvy corner who understands how to play the position and plays well in zone coverages. He is fast and athletic, and shows a good burst when he is working in and out of his pedal. He shows the toughness and willingness to play special teams early on at the next level.
It's tough to find a lot of information about Jones since he's from a Division II school, but if he's getting this much attention from teams, he's got some upside. I'm guessing he'd only end up on the Colts as an Undrafted Free Agent, but it seems like he'd work his tail off to prove the "small school" persona is misguided. I'd be onboard with Jones getting a shot.
For a complete list of prospects and profiles, check out our 2012 Draft Profiles Page.