40-Yard Dash: 4.45 (78th-percentile)
Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS): 103.9 (78th-percentile)
Burst Score: 128.6 (85th-percentile)
Agility Score: 10.8 (90th-percentile)
Catch Radius: 10.27 (92nd-percentile)
Best Comparable: Tre McBride
Perhaps, Isaiah “Zay” Jones was also destined to play professional football. His father played linebacker for 10 seasons in the NFL. His uncle is former journeyman quarterback Jeff Blake. His brother Cayleb Jones is nowhere near as athletic, but also plays wide receiver and is currently on an NFL practice squad.
Zay Jones won’t suffer the same fate as his brother after achieving a 37.1-percent (71st percentile) College Dominator Rating and some very nice measurables. Jones was a factor for East Carolina right away, catching 62 passes for 604 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman. Jones flashed some versatility during this four years spent with the Pirates, including returning kicks as a sophomore. In his sophomore and junior seasons, Jones averaged nearly 90 receptions a year. That aided Zay in becoming the all-time FBS receptions leader with nearly 400 catches after grabbing 158 passes as a senior, the single-season FBS record. During that final campaign, Jones also recorded 1,746 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He was also credited with four rushing attempts and even threw a touchdown pass.
Now, before we get too carried away the East Carolina air raid passing offense also helped to make Justin Hardy — a 2015 fourth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons — the previous record holder with 387 receptions. In what should be considered a large red flag, Hardy caught 12 more touchdowns than Jones did in the exact same number of games played during their collegiate careers.
Another big strike on Zay Jones‘ resume is a minuscule 11.1 yards per reception as a senior, which drags him all the way down into the eighth percentile. Hardy capped out with a 12.3 YPR during his East Carolina career. Stacked against the smaller and less athletic Hardy, Jones caught more passes but was significantly less productive recording yards and scoring touchdowns despite having all the physical advantages.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Zay Jones showed well with an excellent broad jump, coupled with an above average vertical jump to fuel a 128.6 (85th-percentile) Burst Score. He also excelled in the 20-yard shuttle and was above average in the 3-cone, sparking a 10.80 (90th-percentile) Agility Score.
Scouts don’t seem to have anything bad to say about Zay Jones, on or off the field. He also had a strong week at the Senior Bowl. Jones is a bit lanky, but has the functional size and speed to make it as a possession receiver. The route running is good and he has a strong understanding of the game. However, most will ding Jones severely because he comes from a small school where he played all four years and racked up a lot of inflated stats due to the receiver-friendly system.