UConn’s respectable list of pros in the NFL seems set to grow again this spring, as junior defensive lineman Travis Jones received an invitation to the 2022 NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jones is one of 322 athletes invited to the week-long event where the top draft prospects are measured, interviewed, and tested in drills on the field.
The New Haven, Connecticut native may even hear his name called within the first two days. Jones is projected by multiple draft sites as a mid-second-round pick, as both ESPN and Bleacher Report have him tabbed as the sixth-best interior lineman in the class.
Jones enjoyed an extremely productive three years at Storrs, where he became a regular starter in his sophomore year. In 2021, Jones was second on the team with 25 quarterback pressures, tied for first with 17 quarterback hurries, and led all defensive linemen on the team with 32 tackles and 25 run stuffs.
Hot off his successful 2021, Jones was invited to the 2022 Senior Bowl, where he got to show off his skills against college football’s best. Jones impressed in the practices and the game itself, dominating in one-on-one drills.
Jones’ biggest strength, and what makes him a hot prospect, is his size and technique. At 6-foot-4, 326 lbs, he has good size for an interior lineman, and his good first punch and arm strength and technique allow him to consistently shed blocks and handle double teams. He keeps his eyes in the backfield, and after shedding blocks is a capable tackler.
The only downside that scout reports mention is his slower-than-average first step and limited pass-rush repertoire. NFL linemen are asked to get after the quarterback now more than ever, and as such, lacking that skill set will limit a prospect’s ceiling.
UConn’s Pro Day is currently scheduled for March 23, when Jones, fellow offensive lineman Ryan Van Demark and running back Kevin Mensah will show off for NFL scouts.