Scouting Profile: Wide Receiver Zay Jones

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Mar 24, 2017

East Carolina’s Zay Jones leaps for a catch in their game against Navy.

Zay Jones, East Carolina

Height: 6’2”
Weight: 201 lbs.
Arms: 32 1/2”
Hands: 9”
Vertical: 36.5”
40-yard dash: 4.45 seconds

One of the players who saw his draft stock raise at the NFL Combine was Jones, who ran a 4.45 forty yard dash at 6’2” and 201 pounds. Some say that he should have been high on radars before then due to his 158 receptions for 1,746 yards last year. The number that stands out most to me is his 212 targets in just 12 games. The problem is that a player like Jones won’t be the focal point of an offense in the NFL.

Jones is the type of player that I watch and think that he needs to wind up in the right offense in order to be a fantasy producer. The odd part about his forty-yard dash is that his speed doesn’t necessarily show up on film. He is somewhat of a dog off the line, but definitely has a second gear. His jab step allows him to break press coverage most of the time, but he needs a bit of room to get his wheels churning. When he gets 10-15 yards downfield, the jets come on and he’ll burn most cornerbacks.

His route running doesn’t have many sudden movements, as he relies on his hands to sell defensive backs most of the time. While he played some slot with East Carolina, he is better suited to play on the perimeter. Another thing that should be noted is that he doesn’t come back and attack the ball in his routes, which could leave his quarterback vulnerable. You rarely see him with tons of open space around him, because he simply doesn’t create it.

If there is one area that could be considered his best attribute, it’d probably be his hands. He’s solid at bringing the ball in when he needs to, but has also shown the ability to catch it with his hands. Once he gets the ball in his hands, Jones plays like a guy who’s bigger than he is. Rather than trying to run around defenders, he’ll put his helmet down and try to run through them. It’s not that 6’2” isn’t big, but he is very lanky with long, skinny legs, so it doesn’t work out that well for him. He does impresses is his ball-tracking, as he doesn’t get lost when going deep.

When watching Jones, he shouldn’t be mentioned with the top-tier guys entering the draft, because he doesn’t have any one trait that stands out as great. He looks to be an average route runner who doesn’t do very much after the catch, and his speed doesn’t show off the line of scrimmage. He’ll wind up playing in the league because the effort is there and he has enough talent, but I don’t see a consistent fantasy producer without landing in the ideal spot.

Potential landing spot

With the lack of wide receivers on the depth chart in Detroit, I can see the Lions taking a shot on a player like Jones. He’d have a quarterback who could throw the ball downfield to utilize his speed, and it’s an offense that has one of the higher pass volumes in the league. With Golden Tate getting older, Marvin Jones not living up to the expectations, and the overall lack of depth on their roster at wide receiver, Jones makes plenty of sense.

NFL comparison

When thinking about another player in the NFL who benefits heavily from his offense, I think about Davante Adams. Similar to Jones, Adams was a high-round pick known for his hands coming out of college, and one who did everything pretty well, though not anything necessarily great. They both have long strides and while Jones definitely has more top-end speed, Adams out-jumps him. They are both solid enough to start in the NFL and if put into the right offense, can make a fantasy impact. We’ve already seen Adams benefit from playing with Aaron Rodgers. Keep an eye on where Jones lands before making any predictions.

To read up on some of the other high-profile NFL Draft prospects, check out the links below:

Corey Davis – (WR, Western Michigan)
Mike Williams – (WR, Clemson)
John Ross – (WR, Washington)
Taywan Taylor – (WR, Western Kentucky)
JuJu Smith-Schuster – (WR, USC)
Chris Godwin – (WR, Penn State)
ArDarius Stewart – (WR, Alabama)
Carlos Henderson – (WR, Louisiana Tech)
Chad Hansen – (WR, California)

Ep. 72: Dynasty Rookie Draft


Subscribe: iTunesStitcher | SoundCloud | Google PlayTuneInRSS

Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

What's your take? Leave a comment

1Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
2Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
3Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
4Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
5Chris Carson (SEA)RB
6Derrick Henry (TEN)RB
7David Johnson (ARI)RB
8Le'Veon Bell (NYJ)RB
9Julio Jones (ATL)WR
10Phillip Lindsay (DEN)RB
 View all Flex Rankings 
11Aaron Jones (GB)RB
12Cooper Kupp (LAR)WR
13DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
14Mark Ingram (BAL)RB
15Josh Jacobs (OAK)RB
16Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
17Michael Thomas (NO)WR
18Marlon Mack (IND)RB
19Sony Michel (NE)RB
20Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
21T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
22Tyler Lockett (SEA)WR
23Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
24Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
25Kerryon Johnson (DET)RB
26Julian Edelman (NE)WR
27Tevin Coleman (SF)RB
28Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
29Robert Woods (LAR)WR
30Michael Gallup (DAL)WR
1Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
2Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
3Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
4J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
5Trevor Story (COL)SS
6Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
7Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
8Trea Turner (WSH)SS
9Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
10Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
 View All Rankings 
11Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
12Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
13Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
14Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
15Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
16Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
17Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
18Juan Soto (WSH)LF
19Anthony Rendon (WSH)3B
20Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
21Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
22Xander Bogaerts (BOS)SS
23Starling Marte (PIT)CF
24Walker Buehler (LAD)SP
25Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
26Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B
27Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
28Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
29George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
30Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
1Anthony Davis (LAL)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (BKN)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
 View All Rankings 
11Russell Westbrook (HOU)PG
12Paul George (LAC)SF,PF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (LAC)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (OKC)PG
16Kyrie Irving (BKN)PG,SG
17Kemba Walker (BOS)PG
18Jimmy Butler (MIA)SG,SF
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
26Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
27Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests