Archive for Monday, February 23, 2004

Jones ‘impressive’ at NFL scouting combine

February 23, 2004


It's time for Adrian Jones to start dreaming big.

Kansas University's senior co-captain arrived Wednesday in Indianapolis as a little-known player in a group of 26 offensive tackles invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

By the time the event ended Saturday, Jones' stock had risen considerably. said Jones was the "most impressive looking offensive tackle" at the combine, and the Jayhawk had a "terrific workout."

Athletes were subjected to numerous tests -- both physical and mental -- by NFL scouts, coaches and physicians during the four-day ordeal at RCA Dome. The schedule included X-rays and MRIs Wednesday, physicals and weight-lifting exercises Thursday, interviews Friday and position-specific drills Saturday.

Now teams will sift through reams of information in preparation for the April 24-25 NFL Draft.

"I think I helped myself by doing well in the drills," said Jones, who added that he posted the best mark among tackles in the 40-yard dash (4.9 seconds).

More than 300 college players attended the event, but Jones still stood out.

"The two players that made the biggest impression were fullback Troy Fleming of Tennessee and offensive tackle Adrian Jones of Kansas," Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel from 1960-89, wrote on the NFL's official Web site. "Jones is a lineman that really surprised me. The one thing about surprises is that these are players that weren't originally thought of as first-day draft picks, but they elevated their potential position with the workouts. With their showing this weekend, they will be drafted higher and get a bigger payday."

That sounds good to Jones, who might have surprised even himself.

"When I was growing up, I didn't think I had that big of a chance," he said of the NFL. "It wasn't a big dream of mine because I was realistic. I thought, 'How many kids get there?' I wasn't that big of a prospect in high school or even in college. It's new to me, and it comes unexpectedly."

Jones was an all-district tight end at Dallas Carter High and spent four years -- including a red-shirt season -- at that position with KU before coach Mark Mangino convinced him to switch to left tackle last winter.

The 6-foot-5 Jones bulked up from 260 pounds to 280 for the 2003 season, and he has packed on another 16 pounds since the season ended.

Jones had been a serviceable tight end, catching 14 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown as a junior. But he flourished at tackle and helped KU put together one of the most prolific offensive seasons in school history.

"The change was very important," said Jones, who was the only Jayhawk invited to the combine. "With my abilities, it helped me stand out. I do still have a lot to learn. I have to get my technique down and learn more about my position."

Jones, who is on schedule to complete his economics degree in May, will have another chance to make an impression March 17 when KU's seniors work out for scouts during their Pro Day on campus.

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