Don Jones visiting Jaguars, Raiders next

NFL reporter
Posted Apr 10, 2013
Aaron Wilson


A year ago, Illinois safety Tavon Wilson was a surprise second-round selection of the New England Patriots after being snubbed for an invite to the NFL scouting combine. Now, athletic Arkansas State safety Don Jones may be on a similar career track.

Jones has emerged as one of the fastest-rising draft prospects and could be drafted anywhere from the second round to the fifth round due to his athleticism, positional flexibility at cornerback and safety and special-teams skills.

Jones has visited the Miami Dolphins and is visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars today.

He has an upcoming visit with the Oakland Raiders following his Jacksonville visit.

He also has upcoming visits with the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans and he has private workouts with the Cleveland Browns, Dolphins, New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jones has a 42-inch vertical leap and has run the 40-yard dash in 4.39 to low 4.4 clockings.

"I've been hearing some good stuff," Jones told FOX Sports Next in a telephone interview. "The visits have been real nice so far. I've been enjoying meeting the coaches and general managers. I loved meeting with the Dolphins. They definitely made me feel at home. I really liked the trip to Miami.

"Whomever picks me will get a ball player dedicate to the game who brings it 100 percent day in and day out. They'll get a great special-teams player. I love special teams because I feel like they're a big part of making a difference in whether you win or lose." Jones said on his vertical leap test he actually cleared the entire rack, so his vertical leap is a bit higher than 44 inches.

The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times and had a 10-7 broad jump, a 4.48 20-yard shuttle and a 7.19 three-cone drill at his campus Pro Day workout.

The All-Sun Belt Conference selection grew up in Town Creek, Ala. "I played basketball in high school and played center and power forward," said Jones, who's represented by Chris Martin and Sean Smith of OTG Sports. "I've always been able to jump. I played down low because of my ability to jump, box out and bend. I averaged about 17 points per game."

Jones initially enrolled at Arkansas State to play running back, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns and catching 12 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. He then went to junior college for academic reasons.

After being recruited by bigger schools, he stuck witk Arkansas State for loyalty and family reasons.

"I have a two-year-old daughter who had just been born in Jonesboro, Arkansas," Jones said. "She's my heart, so I'm very motivated to make it to the NFL for her and my family."

Jones had 54 tackles, 6 1/2 for losses and an interception in his first season afte transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College.

He played running back and high school, where he was the state champion in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. He rushed for 1,853 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior.

Does not getting invited to the combine motivate you?

"Yes, it's definitely put a big chip on my shoulder," Jones said. "It makes you work harder."

What was it like growing up in a small town like Town Creek?

Jones: "It's a very small town with about 1,200 people. No McDonalds, no Walmart. I grew up on a farm. My dad had cows and horses. I would feed cows, ride horses, build fences with my dad. I definitely learned how to work hard and it built my character."

On film, Jones' aggressiveness and hard-hitting nature are on display.

"I love to hit, that's a natural part of my game," Jones said. "I try to emulate Troy Polamalu for tackling and range and Ed Reed. He's a great leader and a ballhawk."

Jones played cornerback in high school and some NFL teams want to see him play both spots at the next level.

"I can play there," Jones said. "I played some nickel last year. I can get it done. I can definitely run with the receivers and jam them up."

Jones said he isn't getting caught up in what round he's drafted and is remaining calm about the draft process.

"I'm laidback about it, but I want to go as high as possible," Jones said. "I'm blessed to have the opportunity."

For more coverage of the NFL, go to profootball.scout.com

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider


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