Reshad Jones: The answer at free safety?

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While there are many who think that the Dolphins starting free safety in 2010 might not even be on the roster right now, I'm not holding my breath. I don't see it being likely that a veteran comes in between now and the start of the regular season and earns the starting job. But at the same time, I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing.

Thanks to some YouTube videos like this one and this one, Gerogia safety Reshad Jones became a fan favorite even before the Dolphins spent a fifth round pick on the safety. Now that he's a member of this team, there seems to be some growing buzz about the physical former Bulldog.

So what do we need to know about Jones? Well he likes to hit, that's for sure. Just peruse YouTube and you will see several examples of Jones just laying the lumber on opponents. This past weekend, Jones was asked which hit was his favorite. His response?

"I would say the one against Oklahoma State was my greatest hit in college," Jones says of a play in which he leveled a Cowboys receiver (not Dez Bryant) near the goal line. "Not sure who it was, but I got him good."

"It felt good," Jones says. "I got my teammates and crowd into it. That got everybody going. We were a little down and we needed a momentum change. I guess that was the momentum change."

Jones seems to have the mentality of a strong safety. He plays physical, likes to hit, and wants to make receivers think twice about crossing into his area. But Jones will be given a shot to win the free safety position - a position he did play in 2008 at Georgia before moving to strong safety.

Over the past two years, Jones tallied nine interceptions - five of which came when he was playing the free safety spot in 2008. That year was Jones' most productive, statistically speaking. He totaled a career high 76 tackles and was named a sophomore second-team All-American.

Before the draft, I asked the fine people at Dawg Sports, SBN's Georgia blog, to share some thoughts on Jones. You can click here to read what one of their contributors provided us. His conclusion on Jones in the NFL?

Obviously the bottom line question for phins fans is "can the guy help us?" I think the answer to that is a yes. The thing about the NFL is that there are very few "gamers" who don't have the physical chops for the league but get by on their wits and work ethic. If intangibles were what wins in the NFL, Doug Flutie would have 3 Super Bowl rings. Instead, you have to identify guys with the physical tools to execute the scheme, and from those ranks draw the guys with the work ethic to be truly "professional." Reshad Jones has those things. He's not a 1st Round pick, but he's the kind of guy who should go in the 3rd or 4th round and play in some role from day 1.

It's great to hear that Jones was known to have a good work ethic at Georgia because one writer is already questioning Reshad's hustle. Below is what Omar Kelly wrote after watching just one practice session:

I didn’t see much hustle from Jones.

I know what those drills are suppose to look like (because I watch the defensive backs a lot), and in my humble opinion, it didn’t appear that Jones had much fire in his belly on Sunday. He sporadically ran to defenders with hustle, rarely ever touched them to conclude drills (you always touch them to simulate a tackle), and it looked like he was in third gear all day, including during special teams work, which will determine if he does or doesn’t make the 53-man roster.

Let's not read too much into one weekend of practices featuring only the rookies and players in just shorts and helmets. Now if he shows similar effort - or lack thereof - once camp rolls around, that would be a different story.

Right now, though, I just want to gauge everyone's very early thoughts. Is Reshad Jones the solution to Miami's problem at free safety? Or are we going to be sitting here this time next year wondering who will be next to take a shot at winning the starting free safety job in training camp?


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