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Free Agency: How Marvin Jones fits as a Charger

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The San Diego Chargers need a WR to replace Malcom Floyd. Luckily for them, there's a free agent that perfectly fits the bill.

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It would be great if the team brought in Von Miller, Alshon Jeffery, Muhammad Wilkerson and four other all-pro's. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but realistically that's just not going to happen. The Chargers have needs at receiver, defensive end, center, safety, and tackle. Honestly, you could name about any position and it would be a need. Let's go over the current state of the team at the receiver position.

The Chargers have two very good route runners in Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. Johnson was surprisingly a disappointment last year. Allen was having an all-pro season before he was hurt. Both of these guys aren't vertical threats and that is still holding the offense back. For the record, I think Allen is an excellent option as a "back shoulder" kind of guy that can get downfield on double moves or an occasional go route. However, he's just not a true vertical receiver. I understand what he means to the franchise but Malcom Floyd was not effective last year. Finding a threat opposite Allen that can be a downfield target and also contribute on an every down basis should be a top priority for the team this year.

Hello, Marvin Jones. The reason that we don't do too many free agent profiles is because the player we're writing about could very well be finishing up a contract with his current team as I'm writing this. Listen to this interview of Jones at the Pro Bowl and tell me that doesn't sound like a guy who is going to leave. "It wouldn't be good for me to not test the waters a little bit" and "no hometown discount", and finally "I want to be a great wide receiver in this league."

Before that interview I thought Jones was walking for the simple fact that the Bengals refused to consistently put him in the game-plan. This past year Hue Jackson, who I can see him following to the Browns, did a good job of manufacturing touches for him on screens but even then there were 7 games where he had 5 targets or less. On the season Jones had 14 more targets than Allen. Allen played 7.5 games.

For a receiver that was targeted downfield as much as Jones was, catching 63% of those targets is a good number. I'll say that his QB missed him on a good amount of those throws when he was open, too. Not to mention he drew 5 defensive pass interference calls for a total of 122 yards, per football outsiders. Let's look at how Jones would compliment the offense, starting with his deep ability to get down the field.

Winning downfield

Defensive backs sit on the Chargers routes because they don't fear that they're going to get beat. One area where Jones is impressive is double moves. You can see that in the Ravens clip in the tweet posted above. That's where the pass interferences came into play, also. I'm not going to pretend like Philip Rivers hasn't missed throws like below but I can guarantee you he's at least going to give Jones a shot here.

This is a "sting" route or the Jordy Nelson special. Sell the corner and break to the post. The QB has the entire half of the field and still finds a way to miss him. Exhibit B why Jones will want to walk away. That's a great example of Jones as a route runner. For a 6'1" WR he is remarkably quick and can change directions without losing any speed. He's impressive.

Aside from double moves, it's important to be able to keep the defense honest. Jones is no burner, but he has enough speed to get on top of a defense. More importantly, as evidenced in a couple clips posted in the tweet, he understands how to "stack" himself on top of the CB. Once he has a step on them, he gets in front of the DB that way he's the only one of has a chance to make the play. That's a trait not a lot of young WRs understand. Because of this, and his ability to go up and get the ball, he'd be a much needed vertical threat for San Diego. This is against Kansas City's Sean Smith, who is a very good player. Look at that second gear when the ball is in there air.

Before you get all up in arms about the drop, yes it sucks, but he had 2 drops on 109 targets

Consistency

It was kind of embarrassing to see the amount of 1-on-1 coverage that defenses would play against San Diego and their receivers not be able to create separation. Teams would blitz without any fear because there wasn't any threats to them on the perimeter.

a

That's disrespect. Eleven guys within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. The CB to the top of the screen doesn't have any help and is in press man. That's something I do in high-school when I'm facing a noodle armed QB. Life hack: Rivers doesn't have a noodle arm. This is where the team has lacked consistency. This is where Jones can help.

Jones has that veteran savvy route runner feel to him that helps him stay open. Whether it's going full Antonio Gates and leaning into the defender to create separation. Or using good tempo and head fakes. The Bengals ran him on enough deep routes and he was able to win enough of those routes where CBs had to respect him. That allowed him to have success in the short to intermediate part of the field.

That suddenness is lacking opposite Allen. It what Jones brings to the table. He certainly makes some highlight catches down the field but what he brings on an every down basis why he's so intriguing.

That's nice tempo there. He just understands how to run routes. One area I haven't touched on is his ability after the catch. That's what makes him a "high end 2" at worst. He does a very good job of making the first defender miss. I really like how he wastes no time and just turns up field right away.

How much will he cost?

Jones is not without flaws, by any means. There were games where the Bengals would use him on strictly vertical routes and you can tell that's just not his thing. For a "big" receiver he's not that physical. There are times where he gets too engaged with the DB and that hurts him. The biggest negative is his injury history. He had an ankle injury that forced him to miss the entire 2014 season. He also missed 4 games his rookie year due to injury. That said, I think what Golden Tate got from Seattle, a 5 year $31 million contract, maybe a million or so more due to the market value is a fair assessment for what Jones will receive.