"I am going in here knowing that that Tyrod [Taylor] is our starter. I am going in here knowing that EJ [Manuel] is our backup. I am going in here learning, working as hard as I can working with Coach [David] Lee in the film room, on and off the field. Whatever happens after that I guess is just a product of great circumstances."
Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones made his move to the NFL official on Tuesday when the gunslinger signed his rookie contract with the Buffalo Bills. After being drafted in the fourth round, Jones was the last of the Bills' draft picks in the 2016 class to sign with the team, but is now officially a member of the Bills. As a Buckeye in Columbus, Jones amassed an undefeated record as a starter (11-0) and helped guide Ohio State to a national championship in 2014. Following season-ending injuries to both Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett, Jones filled in admirably, throwing deep touchdowns seemingly all postseason en route to the championship.
The 2015 season didn't quite go as planned for Jones, after a long offseason battle with Barrett for the starting quarterback job, Jones took the starting spot at first but after the team struggled with him at the helm, Ohio State eventually transitioned back to J.T. Barrett as the starter. Though you could argue it wasn't Jones' fault by any means, it still possibly hurt his draft stock after receiving high praise following the championship season. But now, he'll get a chance as a third-string quarterback to fight for a spot yet again.
"If things follow the team's vision, at some point, whether it's next year or a couple more down the road, the Ohio State product will slide in at free safety be the long-term starter at that position. That's simple to see. New Orleans wouldn't have traded up to select Bell if it didn't believe this was in his future."
Another draftee from Ohio State during the NFL draft, safety Vonn Bell, is being looked at in New Orleans as being a long-time fixture at free safety. In fact, because of drafting Bell, the Saints are looking at possibly moving to a three-safety defensive backfield with Bell manning the free safety spot. With two other safeties other than Bell that expect to have a starting role on the defense, it would seem like a smart move for the Saints, especially considering the three-safety look was a popular set from the defenses ran in 2013 in New Orleans.
At the end of the day, Bell's versatility as a safety provides the Saints with an excellent opportunity to mix and match their defensive schemes and looks. Drafting Bell could help shore up a defensive backfield that has struggled mightily for the past couple of seasons.
"It was bad timing because I felt myself coming along and getting better. I was really looking forward to the rest of the season. I was really trying to maximize my talent. It was unfortunate that it happened."
Former Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith was just getting where he wanted to be in terms of becoming comfortable with the offense for the New York Jets and his transition to the NFL. Then, late in the season just two weeks after he caught his first touchdown pass, Smith tore his ACL ending his rookie campaign. Now, he's focused on rehabbing his knee and getting back to full speed. Unfortunately, there's currently no timetable for his return, and although he's participated in the team's OTAs, Smith himself has been on the side working with the training staff.
Smith caught just nine passes for 115 yards and one touchdown during the 2015 season and played in 10 games. While it's unclear whether Smith will be ready to go for the start of the season just six months removed from his injury, he's currently doing what he can to get back into game shape and get back on the field as soon as he can while making sure he's able to play healthy.