Eagles fans have high hopes for Sidney Jones, and having to wait a year to see him on the field only fueled the hype. The Eagles took a gamble on Jones, picking the injured cornerback in the second round of the 2017 draft. Three games into his first healthy season, it looks as though the Eagles have gotten the steal that they were hoping for.
Here’s a look at an incredible sequence from Jones on Sunday against the Colts.
Sidney Jones on back to back plays:
Play 1 – pass deflection to prevent touchdown.
Play 2 – somehow stays on feet after low block, takes on a #Colts offensive lineman and holds ball carrier until help arrives.
— Tyler Steege (@TSteegeNFL) September 24, 2018
A quick glance at Jones’ traditional stats won’t catch your attention. No interceptions, no forced or recovered fumbles, six tackles, and one pass defensed. But with cornerbacks, sometimes not hearing their name called is more indicative of their performance than simply putting up numbers. A deeper look at some of Jones’ advanced stats paint a clear picture of his effectiveness.
Courtesy of playerprofiler.com, we can gain a truer sense of Jones’ play. His target separation, which measures the average separation distance between a cornerback and his assigned receiver when a pass arrives, is a paltry 0.38 yards, good for fourth-best in the league. Jones has been all over his man. Jones ranks 10th in yards allowed with 61, second in yards allowed per reception with 5.5, and fourth in yards allowed per target with 3.6.
Digging deeper, Jones ranks first in the league in burn rate, which measures the percentage of targets in which an assigned receiver gains more than five yards of separation. Jones has allowed five yards of separation exactly zero times. Again, Jones has been absolutely blanketing his assignments, and when he does allow a reception the damage is minimal. Not bad for a 22-year old who is basically a rookie.
Jones has earned some recognition for his play, as Pro Football Focus ranked him as the best slot corner in the NFL in Week 2.
It’s early, but Jones has been an absolute stud and appears to be on his way to being exactly what the Eagles, and their fans, hoped he would be.