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NFL Draft 2016 prospect: Cardale Jones

Jones believes he's a first round pick, but will be happy to just get his foot in the door.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Cardale Jones started off the 2015 college football season as the man for the Ohio State Buckeyes. After the offense failed to provide consistency for the majority of his starts during the season, and J.T. Barrett catching fire at the tail end of the season, Jones lost his starting position to the sophomore. It didn't kill his spirit though, as Jones has always been a team player. The intrigue over his NFL potential stayed high as well, as he has had one of the strongest arms in college football the past couple of seasons.

His sophomore season was indisputably one of the highlights of his college career. And it wasn't because he put together a prolonged season of success, but rather that of three games that led Ohio State to the first ever College Football Playoff national championship. His junior season wasn't quite as electric, but that was a tall order when you consider the performances and results he provided in the final three games of 2014. In his career at Ohio State, Jones passed for 2,322 yards, 15 touchdowns, and seven picks. He also ran for 617 total yards and four scores. His arm was a big enough threat to where he was just mobile and strong enough to keep defenses aware of his mobility.

His aforementioned arm strength might be his greatest strength in his transition to the NFL. He also has great size in not only his height but his build as well, so his durability shouldn't be much of a concern. He has a great touch on throws, but can also land any bomb that needs to be made. Although Jones didn't prosper in the starting role in 2015, there's no reason he can't succeed with the right coaching and personnel in the NFL.

Measurements

Height: 6'5

Weight: 253

Arms: 33 3/4"

Hands: 9 3/4"

Interviews

The Ohio State quarterback was the heaviest player in the position group at 253 pounds; he was asked if his size would be a disadvantage in the NFL. Jones noted, "I don't think it's too big for a quarterback. You've got 4-5 guys starting in the NFL who are that size or bigger." He continued about his 6'5 height, "I guess it helps me stand tall in the pocket, be strong. It's not bad to have a little bit of physical size behind a little bit of speed."

Jones was asked in detail about how being benched and having someone constantly over his shoulder for the starting quarterback position affected his 2015 season with the Buckeyes. Despite being disappointed by not fulfilling his personal goals for the season, the team's needs were the priority.

"To me, it was a disappointment for the personal goals and things I wanted to accomplish. But everything that happened was for the betterment of the team. My goals that I wanted to accomplish as the quarterback of the team, they don't outweigh the team's success."

Jones also very clear that he had no regrets about not declaring for the draft after the National Championship game, even retorting when asked, "of course not." He continued to explain why that extra year in  college helped him prepare for the NFL, "Just being more experienced. That year helped me with a little more maturity, being faced with different obstacles during the season. I think this year going back to school definitely did me well."

The Buckeye quarterback is one of the best Twitter follows from the team, but he doesn't see his oft-goofy nature affecting his draft stock. When asked about whether teams have questioned his Twitter activity, he retorted, "I've had a couple of teams ask me about it. I really had only a couple tweets that I shouldn't have tweeted when I was younger" -- we all know which one he's talking about.

Workouts

40-yard dash: First run: 4.83 unofficial, Second run: 4.85 unofficial; Jones appeared to pull his hamstring on his second run.

Position drills: One NFL Network analyst said, "I was mesmerized by Cardale Jones throwing the football."

Vertical jump: 36"

Broad jump: Jones didn't complete the drills after suffering the hamstring injury.

20-yard shuttle run: Jones didn't complete the drills after suffering the hamstring injury.

Here's Jones' faster 40 time:

And here's Jones doing the vertical jump:

Projection

Jones is a solid Day 2 or 3 pick with a litany of teams that are looking to fill their quarterback position. Two draft insiders said though it was unlikely, there was an off chance he could be a late first day selection with a good showing in Indianapolis. While he personally believes he is definitely a first round option, he understands the value of just getting a chance to play in the league and work his way up.

"Of course I think [I'm a first round pick]. But my goal is to get my foot in the door and let my preparation and leadership take it from there. The opportunity definitely is more important than being any pick."