April 25, 2012

Waiting for the call

If there's one thing Ben Jones has learned throughout the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, it's to enjoy the process.

That includes the countless workouts, interviews with scouts and coaches, pretty much the entire gamut.

"You just try to be yourself," Jones said Wednesday in a telephone interview with UGASports. "Everybody's going to ask you specific questions. You've just got to go out, stay focused and have a good time with it. Try to have a little sense of humor. Don't bore them to sleep; make yourself a little different."

Jones certainly didn't have a problem with that during his four-year career with the Bulldogs.

Whether it's eating crickets, chomping on a piece of sod from Bobby Dodd Stadium or going through pre-game walkthroughs barefoot, Jones admits he's always been a little different than most of his colleagues on the football field.

But when it comes to his dream of playing football in the NFL, it's no joking matter.

"I've always dreamed of getting to play in the NFL, and it's finally coming true," Jones said. "I'm just really trying to take it in and soak up this moment."

Jones won't be the only one.

The three-day NFL Draft (Thursday-Saturday) should be a very profitable one for former Bulldogs, as offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, tight end Orson Charles, defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson, cornerback Brandon Boykin, punter Drew Butler and placekicker Blair Walsh have each been projected by different draft experts to hear their names called.

Tight end Aron White, offensive lineman Justin Anderson and fullback/tight end Bruce Figgins will also get their shot, either in the draft or as a free agent.

"I feel my chances now are better than before the combine, I can tell you that," Anderson said. "It's all in God's hands. The book is already written for our lives. What God has for us is going to be for us, so regardless of what happens, I've done all I can do."

The draft begins with the first round Thursday at Radio City Music Hall in New York starting at 8 p.m., followed on Friday at 7 p.m. by rounds 2-3 and Saturday with rounds 4-7 beginning at noon.

"I'm going to be sitting here watching it with my family," Jones said. "I think they're just as excited as I am. We're just looking forward to seeing where I'll wind up."

Most experts project Jones to be selected somewhere in the third or fourth round.

The Philadelphia Eagles are conceivably a team who could call Jones' name.

Jones recently travelled to Philadelphia for a private workout and said that "seven or eight" other teams held workouts for him in Athens.

But impressing the experts isn't always easy.

According to the NFL draft website sidelinescouting.com, one of the negatives evaluators use to describe Jones states that he "is not an overly impressive player by any right, doesn't really stand out or do anything particularly well... Not as big as you would like him to be, shorter than ideal arms and small hands, doesn't have elite size or overall athleticism."

However, Jones doesn't take such criticism in a negative light. In fact, in recent weeks, Jones said he's tried to read up on just as many opinions as he can.

"I definitely look at it, just to see what they're saying and try to pick out any little thing I can improve on," he said. "If they're saying I need to work on my feet, I'll definitely try to do that."

That said, if scouts want a true view of his ability on the field, Jones said all they've got to do is look at the film.

"I know I might not be as good in some things," he said. "But you can put on the tape and see whether you can play football or not."

Scouts obviously feel that way about Glenn.

Measured at 6-foot-5 , and 345 pounds at the NFL Combine last February, Glenn is projected to go somewhere in the latter half of Thursday's first round.

Having played both guard and tackle for the Bulldogs, Glenn feels his versatility is what's helped put him in the position he is. Either way, he's confident he'll be a success.

"That's always my mindset," Glenn said. It's all about being confident and trusting yourself."

That's exactly what Boykin is doing, too.

Described by sidelinescouting.com as a "feisty player who loves to compete," is projected to go as high as the second round, despite the leg injury he suffered in the Senior Bowl that kept him from competing in the NFL Combine and limited his participation during Georgia's Pro-Day.

"People show out at the Combine, have a great showing and people think their stock is rising so much, but end all to beat all is that film and I think I put a lot of film, a lot of good film in people's hands," said Boykin, who was given a clean bill of health during a re-check by league doctors recently in Indianapolis. "They know I'm a great player."