Earlier this month, ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. laid out his projection for what the Cleveland Browns will do with the 44th overall pick.
He predicted the Browns will take defensive tackle Travis Jones out of UConn.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) April 13, 2022
As the draft approaches later this week, the Jones-to-Cleveland hype train is gaining momentum.
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal also noted a potential connection between Jones and the Browns.
The Browns have some “needs” left to fill on the roster.
Most of those holes fall on the defensive side of the ball, particularly at defensive tackle. Is Jones worth taking a flier on if he’s available at 44?
Peaking at the Right Time
Any sports fan wants their team to be playing their best when the games matter most.
No one remembers the team that starts hot but fizzles out in the playoffs.
However, a slow-starting team that starts to click when the postseason hits is dangerous.
This same concept applies to potential draft picks as late-April arrives.
Highly-touted prospects that have a poor senior season and mediocre draft workouts, among other setbacks, can see their draft stock plummet.
On the other hand, lesser-known guys who dominate at the Senior Bowl and draft workouts can move themselves up a round or two.
Jones falls in the latter category, piecing together some phenomenal tape before the draft.
Nobody helped himself more in Mobile than @UConnFootball NT Travis Jones. @bigtrav76 showed high-end starter talent all week. Clinic tape here for DL coaches. 😳#BestoftheBest #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/uX79yXkzsA
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 22, 2022
Scouts and draft experts are taking notice as eyes continue to shift toward Jones.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 25, 2022
Great workouts alone do not make a great player.
However, if you’re the Browns evaluating DT’s, these are all great signs from Jones.
He slimmed down from the start of his time at UConn, took positive steps as a player each season, and is taking the pre-draft stuff seriously.
General managers and front offices love that.
Expect to hear more chatter about Jones in the coming days.
Should the Browns Take a Shot?
Pre-draft hype is a heck of a phenomenon.
Once a fanbase is on board with a prospect, they’ll run a mile with that idea.
Having the team’s first pick in the second-round takes a little air out of the balloon in Cleveland.
There’s no social media campaign to draft any one particular guy.
Still, Jones is someone that plenty seem to be intrigued with.
Ulrich isn’t the only local writer to make comments, as Scott Petrak also believes Jones would fit in well in Cleveland.
Some fans are aboard the Jones-to-Cleveland wagon as well.
Guys I want Browns to take at 44
1. Travis Jones
2. Sky Moore
3. Drake Jackson
4. Logan Hall
5. George Pickens
— Kyle Wandel (@Kyle_Wandel) April 20, 2022
The consensus on Jones is that he is an excellent run defender who isn’t great, but usable, in passing downs.
He does move quick for his size, a near-must in today’s NFL for linemen. Jones served as a great defender on a bad defense, but don’t let that fool you.
The weaknesses in the pass-rushing game are the only real area of concern for Jones.
That may be something teams are confident he can improve on given his excellent collegiate development.
If he’s the top guy on Cleveland’s board left when the 44th pick rolls around, Travis could very well end up a Brown.