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May 15, 2015

A look ahead to the 2016 quarterback class: Cardale Jones edition

The Eagles will more than likely head into the season with Sam Bradford as their starting quarterback. As we all know by now, Bradford is coming off two consecutive ACL tears, which makes him nearly impossible to project going forward. He is also in the final year of his contract, so this is very much a "Let's see what you got" year for Bradford with the Eagles.

If Bradford proves to be the player many thought he would be when he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, the Eagles will more than likely try to sign him to a long-term contract extension. If his career continues to follow the path it has followed over his first five years in the NFL, the Eagles will be shopping for a new QB in 2016.

And so, we've already begun to take a very early look at the quarterbacks who may be available in the 2016 draft, starting with Michigan State's Connor Cook, who will be a senior for the Spartans in 2015. Today we'll look at Ohio State's Cardale Jones.

For his college career, Jones has a measly three starts, and he isn't even a lock to be the Buckeyes' starter in 2015. Those three starts were:

     • Big Ten Championship Game vs #13 Wisconsin, who the Buckeyes blew out, 59-0.

     • The Sugar Bowl against #1 ranked Alabama to get to the National Championship Game.

     • The National Championship Game, in which the Buckeyes beat #2 ranked Oregon.

3-0. Many pro quarterbacks will never play in three games that big.

Jones is a monster, at 6'5, 250. He can run around defenders, or over them. He also has a cannon for an arm. He's everything you want in a quarterback from a physical perspective. With that #12 on his back, he looks like a meaty version of Randall Cunningham. However, evaluating his decision-making skills and accuracy is pointless with only three career starts under his belt. We need to see more from Jones to come to any kind of reasonable conclusions on those two attributes.

The biggest criticism I have of Jones, and it's important to note that the Eagles seems to care a lot about this, is that he does not get the ball out quickly. I didn't time his throws, but I'd be stunned if on average he got the ball out in under three seconds. And it very well may be even much longer than that.

Another serious concern, especially for #CultureChip, is Jones' character. Jones needs to lay off Twitter, although this is hilarious:

The concerns aside, holy crap, he's an athletic beast:

Here's a scramble on OSU's first drive against Oregon in which Jones runs through a linebacker.

And another one where he out-mans a big boy defender:

Here he is showing off his long speed after a broken tackle, and he finishes the run by bowling over safety Landon Collins.

But he's not just a big dude who can run over defenders. He can be elusive, too:

More elusiveness. Watch him juke poor #93:

Here's the big arm:

Here's a 55-yard throw on the money while a defender is yanking on his facemask during the follow-through.

More big arm, on a window throw:

More big arm (It's an easy throw, but you can see the effortless zip here):

Jones' poise considering his lack of experience was very impressive. He shows patience throwing from his own end zone in the clip above, and here, he calmly steps up into the pocket, then to his right and delivers a nice deep ball to Devin Smith.

Jones has nothing to prove in terms of being a big-game quarterback, but he does have quite a bit to prove to NFL scouts on whether he can be consistently good. Assuming he's Ohio State's starting QB, 2015 will obviously be a far better chance to evaluate Jones over a bigger body of work.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski