Seven months ago, UConn was in the midst of a two-win season and Byron Jones' college career was already over thanks to a shoulder injury. On Friday, Jones was the 27th pick in the NFL Draft, thanks to the Cowboys, a team in desperate need of secondary help.
And while some in the national media consider Jones the beneficiary of a strong offseson workouts, NFL scouts, coaches and general manager know that Jones is a top-flight football player, long before he opened eyes with his ridiculous broad jump and vertical leap at February's combine. Take the team that drafted him, for example.
"We probably knew as much on him as anybody in the draft,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, via SNY.com. “Pasqualoni coached him and we had a scout who knew his position coaches and felt real good about our evaluation of Byron.
“He played two years as a safety and as well as what he can do at corner. So, that was pretty prominent in our decision to take him. It was hard waiting. But, it worked out for us. we were fortunate when you put in the cross hairs our team needs, type of player he is, our coaches were particularly on the table for him during our evaluation process.”
The Cowboys were so high on Jones that they weren't sure he'd last till the end of the first round.
"We had him rated high on our board,” Jerry Jones conceded. “He was in our top 15 and 16 players on the board.” There’s an urge as you watch 26 players roll out, there is an urge (to trade up). But that is the art of the process. Seriously, that’s the anxiety that is involved. We didn’t see a lot of trading possibilities, but we were keeping our eyes open in case a real bargain came along.”
And there's no easy Jones into the big pool. The Cowboys will throw him in the deep end and see what happens.
“We anticipate him starting out as a corner," Jerry Jones said. "Depending on health of secondary, moving him to safety is realistic.”
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) May 1, 2015