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2013 NFL Draft: Georgia Outside Linebacker Jarvis Jones Falling Because of Spinal Stenosis?

January 30th, 2013 at 7:47 PM
By Donald Lappe

The past few days we have focused on some of the top tackles in the 2013 NFL Draft, but now we are going to turn our attention to one of the top pass rushers. Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is first up, but there are some major questions surrounding him that have started pushing him down the board. The first knock on him was his size, but recent news of a potential spinal issue could see Jarvis Jones go into a freefall when it comes to his 2013 NFL Draft stock.

Jarvis Jones has been the prospect with the most movement so far in anticipation of the 2013 NFL Draft. He has gone up and down the draft board, the only consistency seemingly being that he's not going to be in the same pot he was last time. Jarvis Jones showed off his potential as a great pass rusher at Georgia, piling up 24 sacks over the past two seasons. But, there are some issues that could affect where he's taken.

The most serious one is called spinal stenosis. It's basically a thinning of the spinal canal at any point, and it's an issue that has impacted some big names. Cooper Manning, the only Manning broth not to make the NFL, is afflicted by spinal stenosis. Chris Samuels was forced to retire early due to the condition. While Jarvis Jones was at USC, he suffered an injury and the cause was found to be spinal stenosis. USC wouldn't clear him to play. Jarvis Jones went through a series of tests for the University of gEorgia before being cleared to play for the Bulldogs. He will have to answer questions about the issue once again before he gets a shot to play in the NFL.

This is an issue that will be interesting to watch play out on draft day. Just as with some character issues, this is the kind of injury that will likely cause some teams to take Jarvis Jones completely off the board. Others, seeing his enormous potential and understanding some of the advances made in treating the condition, will probably have him near the top of the draft board. Given the importance of hitting on early round picks, drafting Jarvis Jones is a risky proposition, but one with a huge potential payoff.

The other issue with Jarvis Jones is his size. At 6-3, 240, he's not a huge edge player and there are going to be questions about his ability to set the edge against the run. That could make him a better fit as a 4-3 linebacker, shielded by a four-man defensive line. Still, his pass-rushing skills are going to tempt every defensive coordinator in the NFL.

Jarvis Jones might be the most interesting prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft. His athleticism and ability to rush the passer has some grading him in the Top 5 of all prospects. His health issues and size could have some teams leaving him off the board completely. Will he be taken in the Top 5? Will he slip and become a steal for a team later on in the first round?

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, 2013 NFL Draft stock, Georgia, Jarvis Jones, NFL, NFL Draft, Prospects, Spinal Stenosis, USC

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