The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 25, 2013

Jones will soon find out if draft was worth the wait

NORMAN — Timing is everything in sports. For Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson, it’s all come together at exactly the right moment. He’s blossomed into a sure-fire, first-round pick for today’s NFL Draft.

The timing, however, has not fallen perfectly into place for three other former Sooners.

Two years ago, quarterback Landry Jones was thought to be a legitimate franchise quarterback. Sixteen months ago, he had a “first round” NFL Draft grade but elected to return to school for his senior season.

Now, all prognostications having him still waiting for an NFL team to draft him after the first round ends tonight.

What changed?

“I think his performance leveled off from where he was early on when he was considered to be the next Sam Bradford,” ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “Now you look at some bad decisions, inaccurate throws. When he gets pressured a little bit in the pocket, some things break down fundamentally.

“He’s got talent. The kid’s got a lot of ability. If you can harness that ability, develop that talent, you might have something.”

Heading into the draft, Kiper has Jones slotted as a third-round pick. If that holds true, Jones will find out his professional destination Friday night.

ESPN “Monday Night Football” analyst Jon Gruden believes Jones’ tumble down draft boards is a matter of timing.

“He had a great sophomore year. I don’t remember many sophomore quarterbacks in college football doing what he did. He was unbelievable,” Gruden said. “But you have him in at 6-foot-4; he’s thrown for 16,000 yards; he’s won a lot of games. But he did not have his best year. The Kansas State game was disappointing. Certainly the bowl game against Texas A&M, you’re disappointed. You expect so much more.”

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