NFL Draft Projections: Dwight Jones Compared to Past Tar Heel Wide Receivers


When you look at the NFL today, there are two former UNC receivers that stand out above the rest. Current New York Giants star Hakeem Nicks and Cleveland Browns up and comer Greg Little have proven that they have what it take to find success now that their collegiate careers have come to an end. With three years of NFL experience under his belt, Nicks has established himself as a very dangerous weapon with a knack for finding the end zone (he has 24 touchdown catches in his short career). Little on the other hand is coming off of his rookie season in the NFL.

After getting off to a slow start during his first few games in the league, he began to improve as he became more accustomed to style of play at the professional level. By seasons end, Little had proven that he has the playmaking abilities to be a legitimate threat at wide out. While Dwight Jones still has a great deal to prove before he can place himself in the same category has his fellow Tar Heels, the similarities between him and these other two receivers are uncanny.

From a statistical standpoint Jones and Nicks numbers were nearly identical during their college careers. During his junior year at UNC Jones put up 946 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Nicks on the other hand recorded 958 yards and 5 scores during his junior campaign. The following season, Jones had a breakout year with 1196 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. These numbers are mirror images of Nicks senior statistics of 1222 yards and 12 touchdowns. It’s almost uncanny how similar these two Tar Heel alumni played during their tenure at the university.

However, when you look strictly at the physical aspect of the game, Jones has a build and skillset that is nearly an exact match to Greg Little. When you look at each player’s current height and weight, the numbers are nearly similar. At the beginning of the 2011 college football season Jones was listed at 6ft 3in and 226lbs. When the 2011 NFL season kicked off, Little was recorded at 6ft 2in and 220lbs. However the corresponding aspects do not stop at each player’s physical proportions. When these two players ran the 40 yard dash at the beginning of their respective league’s season, they were both timed at exactly 4.53 seconds.

While it is interesting to see how these three former Tar Heels compare so closely to one another, there is a deeper reason for this analysis. It is reasonable to suggest that a player like Jones, who has the statistics of one player and the physical traits of another, will possess a skill set containing aspects of both players being compared to him. This gives us a potential template of what we can expect from Jones as he enters the ranks of the NFL. Taking all of the aforementioned information into consideration, I predict that Dwight Jones will be a receiver capable of becoming a number one wide out for an NFL team, but who will be best suited as a second option. In this role, he will still be able to put up impressive numbers, while aiding his team, but he will do so without having to worry about facing double coverage or matchup up against the oppositions best cover corner. I predict that he will be a dangerous deep threat who scores the majority of his touchdowns off of long passes rather than on redzone possessions.

While history has proven time and time again that drafting is far from an exact science, the information available on a player like Dwight Jones allows for a logical projection to be made. While it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Jones could turn out be a bust like Michael Crabtree or Darrius Heyward-Bey, or a late round breakout star like Marques Colton, I believe that my prediction on his upcoming NFL career will be very similar to the information listed above. However, that’s really where the real fun in the NFL drafting process lies. You never truly know how a player will perform at the professional level until they actually get out on the field.