The draft process has been a stressful one for Jarron Jones.
The former Notre Dame defensive tackle, who’s had plenty of questions to answer during the months long lead up to the April 27 draft in Philadelphia, compared it to something he’s already gone through.
“It’s kind of like going through recruiting all over again,” Jones said last month at Notre Dame’s pro day. “But you’re not being recruited, you have to recruit a team to like you.”
Jones had a subpar showing at the NFL Combine in February. He aimed to improve on that at pro day, re-doing his vertical and broad jumps, as well as his 40-yard dash.
He also participated in several defensive line drills in front of the assembled NFL personnel.
But Jones’ biggest hurdle during the draft process has been his interviews with NFL teams. Various reports have labeled Jones as a character risk, and Jones feels he’s answered those questions well.
“You just have to be up front,” Jones said. “Most of the time, if you are telling whether it’s good or bad, they know before you ask it. They want to see what you will say. If it is something bad, how did you overcome it? What did you learn from it? What is your next step going forward?”
In a post last week on RotoWorld.com, an anonymous NFC director of scouting said Jones is a character risk.
"He's a character flag for us," the report stated. "He's talented but I just don't think he loves the game enough for me to back him in our room. Who doesn't love those long arms? We all do, but I think he's lazy and will head south as soon as he has more time and money on his hands."
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Jones had 45 tackles, two sacks and a team-high 11 tackles for loss as a fifth-year senior. He had a dominant game against Miami, recording seven tackles, including six for a loss and one sack.
His return from a knee injury that wiped out his senior season was a tough process. He said NFL teams have asked him why he did not start every game, and Jones’ answer is simple.
“Overcoming mental hurdles with my knee injury and stuff like that,” Jones said. “Just getting used to the swing of things of being in a game and playing full time. You see the play counts, I started from Texas playing 15 snaps and (against) Virginia Tech I played over 60. It was just a process.”
On “The Jack Swarbrick Show” last month, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock offered his opinion of Jones.
“He’ll be drafted,” Mayock said. “He’s probably going to be a five technique for one of those teams. He’s got a body that — he looks a little like Stephon Tuitt as far as body is concerned. He just doesn’t have the consistency yet of a Stephon Tuitt.”
Jones is still projected to be a mid-to-late-round selection. He said he’s looking forward to just playing football again, which means just being himself.
“You’re getting a playmaker, baby,” Jones said with a smile.
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