NORMAN — Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones received the piece of paper all college football players dream of last January. It was the one from the NFL draft advisory council that says where a player is projected to be picked.
Beyond the anticipation, there’s little hoopla.
“It was kind of bland. It just has a one or two on it,” Jones said, referring to the round. “I got a first-round evaluation.”
That committee doesn’t draft any player. It just contacts a couple general managers and coaches from around the NFL and gives the player an estimate of where he’ll be taken.
It’s far from a guarantee. A lot can change between January and the April draft. However, most college underclassmen who see “first round” on the that piece of paper start cleaning out their college lockers. Jones didn’t. Less than a week later he announced he was returning to OU for his senior season.
What makes him different?
“The NFL is always going to be there,” he said Monday after the Sooners’ first spring practice. “I just wanted to come back and enjoy my senior year.”
Jones speaks of it in a nonchalant manner. He’s never been the type to publicly express a great deal of emotion. There were reasons to exit Norman after last season that went beyond the grade he received.
Jones threw one touchdown pass in OU’s final four games last season. It was the stretch it played after star receiver Ryan Broyles suffered a season-ending knee injury. Jones was picked off six times. More importantly, the Sooners went 2-2 in those games.
Losing to Baylor for the first time ever dropped them from the national title picture. One of the worst games in Jones’ career came in the 44-10 loss at Oklahoma State to end the regular season. He threw two interceptions and fumbled twice in a game that decided the Big 12 championship.