Martin Mayhew spent his St. Patrick’s day at the University of Missouri pro day and while there are certainly some former Tigers that he had his eye on there was one non-Missouri player that he could be considering. Cornerback Ryan Jones played at Division II powerhouse Northwest Missouri State but had the opportunity to showcase his talents at the Mizzou pro day. Jones put on a good show at the NFLPA game in San Antonio but was not invited to the NFL combine in Indianapolis, a move that landed him on a number of snub lists.
Wes Bunting of the National Football Post listed Ryan Jones as one of seven combine snubs and had this to say:
Jones is still a work in progress, as he’s been able to be more of an athlete playing cornerback at the D-II level, relying on his athletic skill set to make plays. He seems to be working hard at his trade, as his technique was improved at the NFLPA game. However, he still doesn’t seem natural sitting into his drop at this stage. Nevertheless, he’s a well-built kid who is going to run really well at his pro day and I think because of his size/speed numbers will warrant a pick late.
Not surprisingly, Bunting is high on Jones as a prospect, ranking him as the number 16 cornerback prospect in the draft. The final impression he leaves in the scouting report makes me think the Lions could do well with Jones as a late round pick:
A tall, strong, good-looking athlete with all the tools, just needs to learn to play the cornerback position. Plays in both man and zone at the college game and his range, ball skills, size and fluidity makes me think he can play in any scheme, just needs to learn to tighten up his footwork and learn to play lower. A nice developmental later- round cornerback prospect.
No draft prospect has reached their full potential by draft day, this is especially true for players like Jones (and Daivd Mims, yesterdeay’s prospect profile) who come out of small schools. It takes more foresight to see these players for what they can be as opposed to what they are. Smaller schools don’t have the large staffs with position coaches like major division I programs and therefore lack the polish of prospects that come out of bigger schools. Some solid NFL coaching can turn such players into big time values.
Other prospect rankings have Jones much lower on the board but perhaps he is flying under the radar more than he should. With cornerback being a position of need, the Lions may be looking to stock up and let the battles play out on the practice field. Something tells me that would be just fine with Ryan Jones as most smaller school prospects are just looking for a chance. What do you think fans, should the Lions be the team to give him that chance?