Jonathan is a big, strong running back with decent speed. He has excellent size and is one of the main focal points of the offense that his college team runs. Jonathan looks to have excellent overall athleticism and seems to be a good teammate. Jonathan has gained a lot of yardage for his college team and plays against some tough competition; this does need to be taken into consideration when evaluating him for the next level.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Jonathan runs three plays. A dive play like he is a fullback, a sweep that uses a cut back and, occasionally, an off-tackle play. There is another problem -- because he is lined up three yards behind the QB, so I can't tell you how quick he might be to the hole in a pro style offense. He also does not read defenses so I suspect that he does not understand how to block a blitz in the passing game. He does not show any lateral agility or vision in the hole to make a tackler miss. Jonathan is not used in the sparse passing game. They do not throw the ball to him out of the backfield and no matter how much he might look like he can catch a ball in workouts, that has nothing to do with catching the ball down the field, getting hit and continuing to hold onto the ball. Jonathan also is in a system that has a QB who is a pretty good runner; therefore, teams do not always focus on Jonathan as THE running threat in that style of offense.
With all the hub bub about Jonathan, I expected to see a running back with quickness, power, strength, football intelligence and the main focal point of his college team's running offense. I did not see any of that and let me tell you, I was disappointed. I did not see a player who leads by his play on the field. I saw a pretty good running back in a system designed so that a defense could not focus on just one player in the running game. Jonathan has a long way to go before he can become a franchise running back. You don't run just three running plays in the NFL. You also have to read defenses and learn how to block in blitz pick-up. You also have to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield when you know you are going to get hit like a ton of bricks by a LB who has you in his sights. I can see someone drafting Jonathan because of workout numbers as early as the 2nd round, but you will have to wait for him to develop if you want to use him as your main back. I guess you could pair him up with a back like Chris Johnson RB Titans to take the big hits and be Chris' wing man -- but, do you pay first round money for that? If you want to take Jonathan in the first round (as others are suggesting) then go right ahead, but do it with the knowledge that he has a long way to go and just as he learns it all, he will be a free agent. Using him as a specialty running back inside the red zone sounds great except...can he read the blitz and pick it up fast enough if you decide to pass the ball? If Jonathan went to the Senior Bowl and answered the questions that I have about his play, then by all means, with his size-speed ratio I would also look at him as a franchise back. But that's not going to happen. All I can go by is what I see on the field and right now there are other backs I would look at in the first round way before I would think about drafting Jonathan. Remember, this talent score is based on the overall talent and ability of a player to impact as quickly as possible; it is NOT where the player will be selected in the draft. I would draft Jonathan as a potential good back who, in specific situations, will help my offense. For me, right now, there is way too much development that Jonathan has to do to suggest that he is franchise back material at this point in his career. A zone blocking scheme will help this kid impact quickly; however, if he doesn't show the quickness and burst through the hole and the vision that a zone blocking back needs to have in his workouts, then there will be more questions that will go unanswered and Jonathan could drop quickly in this draft.
Drew Boylhart 1/10