Byron Jones, the 27th overall draft pick, hails from New Britain, Connecticut and attended the University of Connecticut, part of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Avid football fans may be familiar with New Britain’s strong football tradition that also produced Aaron Hernandez, although Jones seems to be a mature young man who is thankful for the opportunity to play football. Even though he has played cornerback for only two years, playing free safety for two years ahead of that, many feel he is one of the best cornerbacks that the ACC has ever produced.
Despite the University of Connecticut not being a football powerhouse, NFL teams paid attention to Jones after his performance in the Indianapolis Combine where he jumped 12 feet three inches in the broad jump. This set an Indianapolis record, and, perhaps, an all-time Combine record. Jones says his personal best in the broad jump is 12 feet seven inches.
Jones also jumped a 44 1/2 inch vertical jump, did 18 repetitions on the bench, and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds. At the Combine, Jones chose to sit out some events because of the shoulder injury saying that his football tapes were impressive enough to get him drafted without risking further injury. Obviously, Jones was right.
Graphic via cw33
While playing at the University of Connecticut, Jones started in 32 of 43 games. As a team captain in his senior year, Jones played in seven games ending up with 24 tackles, 18 passes defended, eight interceptions and four pass breakups. His personal best came in the game against Tulane on October 11 where he had seven tackles. His senior session ended early with a torn labrum that he had surgery on in December. Stephen Jones, son of legendary Dallas Cowboy football owner Jerry Jones, compares Byron Jones to the Patriots’ Devin McCourty in his style of play. Jones is also very comparable to McCourty in size standing 6 feet one inch and weighing 195 pounds. Jones’s hands measure 10 inches and his arms measure 32 inches.
Early indications are that Byron Jones has the speed and smarts to be a success in the NFL. In preseason training, owner Jerry Jones has said that Jones has natural athletic ability and great instincts that will allow him to play corner or safety
It is expected that Jones will see early action. Many commentators believe that Dallas needs an outstanding safety. If Dallas can keep the rest of the cornerback players healthy, then they can make Jones their free safety because they will have Orlando Scandrick, Morris Claiborne, Corey White and Brandon Carr. One must wait, however, until later in the season to see if Orlando Scandrick stays healthy enough to play and if Corey White will bounce back mentally after a down year at New Orleans. If so, then look for Byron Jones to become the Cowboy’s safety that they desperately need.
Graphic via snyuconn