The hype surrounding the USC program over the past 12 months has surrounded quarterback Sam Darnold and his likely destination for the #1 overall spot in the 2018 NFL Draft. While that still may be the case, the 2017 season proved that running back Ronald Jones may deserve just as much attention when it comes to game-breaking, offense-changing caliber talent. The third year junior has led the Trojans in rushing yards each season of his career while adding a total of 41 touchdowns. The Trojans haven’t had a back with this kind of explosion since Reggie Bush, but there are more developed football skills here with Jones, a future star running back in the NFL.
What He Does Well:
Top tier acceleration and burst into, and out of the running lane. He has a gear that most do not, and he can reach it with just a few steps. The former USC track athlete shows no wasted motion when he changes direction. He can stop and go on a dime. Once into the open field, very few defenders will be able catch him from behind, if any. Will move like he is on ice skates. Just an easy glider, smooth but incredibly fast mover. Will run with a physical, hard nosed style when the situation calls for it. Tough kid between the tackles and will take defenders on without hesitation. Runs with the constant forward lean and balance.
Where He Needs Work:
Even though the majority of his game is based on speed and quickness, Jones will need to add bulk to his frame. He won’t be able to take a season’s worth of NFL hits for long. Struggles as a blocker to both recognize delayed blitzes and sustain his contact with the defender. Initial impact is average at best and he doesn’t stick. Was rarely used as a pass catcher throughout his career.