Cardale Jones and the Ohio State Buckeyes have the most important college football game of the season, and their lives, in front of them. Yet Jones is in the awkward position of trying to figure out what to do about his future.
This morning Nick took a look at what would happen if Jones has a great game against Oregon (New Window):
"At 6-5, 250-pounds, Jones has the prototypical body NFL coaches drool over. His size enables him to punish would-be tacklers. And when he throws deep, he flicks the ball so effortless down the field."
So why would Jones, with all of 2 (soon to be 3) starts under his belt, decide to go pro?
Buckeyes Depth Chart
Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) talks with Braxton Miller on the field prior to the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Really the story of this college football season is the depth chart of talent that the Ohio State Buckeyes have shown. Braxton Miller was a Heisman Trophy candidate when the season started while J.T. Barrett took over the team and likely would have gone to New York had he not been injured in the game against Michigan.
Miller and Barrett are expected to return next season. Miller will be a senior while Barrett will be a redshirt sophomore. Even if Miller departs, either via the NFL Draft or transferring to another school, Barrett would likely start next year.
Barrett can’t go to the NFL nor can he transfer without having to sit out a year. Jones also could not transfer without sitting out another season but, as a redshirt sophomore, he can enter the NFL Draft. Jones’ history tells us that transferring and sitting out another year is not something he should be focused on.
A little known, or talked about fact, regarding Cardale Jones is that not only did he redshirt with the Buckeyes, he also greyshirted. A grey shirt is when a incoming freshman postpones his enrollment at the college he intends to play for so as to add another year to his eligibility.
In Jones’ case, former coach Jim Tressel talked Jones into going to Fork Union Military Academy in order to create space between Jones and Braxton Miller. Most are unaware that Jones and Miller graduated from high school the same year. If Miller would have been healthy this season it would have been his senior season, while Jones was entering his sophomore season.
So for Jones has already sat out a grey and red shirt season while also not playing for most of two seasons. If he returns, or transfers, that is another season that he likely won’t be playing. He has two more seasons of eligibility, at OSU he would sit behind Barrett for those seasons, barring an injury. If he transfers he would have sat for 4 and 3/4 seasons to play one full season and the 3 games he will start this season.
For a guy who showed that he doesn’t love school, that is a ton of school with very little football.
We would be remiss if we didn’t address Cardale Jones’ infamous tweet, a tweet that has long since been deleted but not before many captured it:
While, according to all reports including Urban Meyer’s, Jones has matured since this tweet form over 2 years ago, can we assume he still wants to play football and not play school? Likely his stance has softened but does he love school now, enough to stick around and likely not get to play football?
When I asked a NFL Draft analyst about Jones’ possible future he noted that the free education should be more valuable:
I informed him of the infamous tweet and he laughed but to many education is valuable, if it isn’t to Jones sticking around, or transferring, carries less value.
Entering the NFL Draft is different than getting drafted in a valuable position. While any draft pick, who makes the team, is bound to make some good money, would Jones be drafted high enough to make it worth his value? Nick noted this tweet from Yahoo’s Jason McIntyre regarding Jones’ draft prospects:
Logan Thomas is an interesting comparison. Both QBs are huge with athletic ability. The difference between the two is also very interesting:
- Thomas started 3 full seasons while Jones will have only started 3 games.
- Thomas played in more games his freshman season, 7 before starting the last 3 years, than Jones would have his entire college career.
- On the other hand, most believed Thomas’ passing mechanics would need to be totally reworked while Jones’ arm and technique is much better.
- Watching Jones flick his wrist for a long TD and then run over and passed defenders has to have coordinators drooling about his long term prospects.
So if Jones goes to the NFL he could be selected no lower than the 4th round as a developmental, long term quarterback. Should he have a good game, whether the Bucks win the National Title or not, his draft prospects could shoot up to the 2nd or 3rd round.
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Cardale Jones could be facing a decision between possibly having to sit behind 1 or 2 quarterbacks at Ohio State and being drafted, low projection of 4th or 5th round, into the NFL. If he has a good/great game next Monday that decision seems to become easier if he can move up to the 2nd or 3rd round.
Given Jones’ history, the competition with the Buckeyes, his lost grey and red shirt seasons and possible draft positioning, we could be seeing the next big developmental QB in the NFL.
Should he declare draft analysts won’t have much information to go off of, making their jobs easier. Unlike the NBA, the NFL tends to lean against unknowns. Yet Jones’ unknowns will be buoyed by three big time college football games. So far Jones has made the most of those games: 58% passing for 618 yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. In those 2 plus games he has also rushed for 258 yards, a 5.1 yards per carry average and a long of 27 yards.
Given all of that, does Cardale Jones have enough reasons to enter the NFL Draft?
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