By Justin Whitaker
— Chris Jones is hoping that his world flips upside down this weekend.
The 2009 Brownsburg High School graduate and standout Bowling Green senior defensive lineman is expected to get selected in today’s third day of the NFL Draft (rounds 4-7 are chosen today).
Jones has been playing football since the age of 7 and hopes that his childhood dream of playing in the NFL becomes a reality today.
“It’s exciting, but at the same time it’s probably the most nerve wrecking thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Jones said.
During his time at Bowling Green, Jones was a 2012 MAC defensive player of the year and was a three-time all-MAC selection. The 6-foot-2, 302-pound lineman racked up 157 tackles, 28 sacks, and six forced fumbles in his four years as a Falcon.
Jones has heard from NFL teams, scouts, and even mock drafts online that he could be selected anywhere from the third round to going undrafted.
“Everybody could really look online and they could know about as much as me or more,” he laughed.
The NFL Combine gave Jones an opportunity to show teams why he should be drafted and the chance to get drafted in the NFL is not lost on him.
“It’s just an honor and a blessing,” Jones said. “But now it’s more of a nervous feeling. I’m trying to enjoy it, but it’s really hard not knowing where I’m going to be.”
Jones is planning on watching the draft with family, friends, and teammates in a large conference room on campus at the Bowling Green stadium today. He said he’ll also make sure he’s got his phone charger handy.
“My phone runs out of battery pretty quick already, but with all of the calls and texts I’ll probably be making, I feel like it’s going to die within three hours of my day,” he said.
Thirty-two teams from all across the country could select Jones. He grew up a Miami Dolphins fan because of his grandmother and would welcome an opportunity to play at home for the Colts. But when it comes down to it, Jones has no preference in team, climate, or division.
“I want to go somewhere where I will have the best opportunity to succeed,” he said. “Whatever team picks me, I’m really hoping that for their system, I work out. All I really want to do is play football. That’s what being in the NFL is all about.”
NFL teams who run both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes have had discussions with Jones with how he would fit in with their team. He has been told by three to four teams that he could play a nose tackle position or a “five technique,” which is when the defensive lineman is lined up on the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle’s shoulder.
The most common position Jones has been told might be a good fit for him is a “three technique,” which is when the defensive lineup lines up on the outside shoulder of one of the guards.
‘The No. 1 thing I get from four to three teams is a three technique that can get up field,” Jones said. “I would say three technique is where my home will be, but I think I can play anywhere someone needs me to. Actually I know that I could, just have to put me there and give me some time to learn it. I know I’ll get it down.”
After moving from Michigan to Brownsburg in the middle of his sophomore year of high school, Jones credits Brownsburg coach Brett Comer and Bulldog strength and conditioning coach Bryan Neese for helping him grow as a football player. Jones’ father has also been an important influence on his growth as both a person and a player.
“I really looked up to him when I was younger,” Jones said of his father. “He showed me that with hard work he really got what he deserved. He has a great job, a great family, and he’s done great things. I want to be the most and my dream was to play professional football and I did everything I need to do leading up to this point and I wasn’t just going to be given it. I had to earn it.
“Every day I went into work in the weight room. Even if I wasn’t feeling good I just pushed through it and tried my hardest in everything. I didn’t want to lose in sprints or any competitions that we had in the offseason.”
Everyone back in Brownsburg has been incredibly supportive of Jones’ road to the NFL and he said he’s especially thankful for Comer.
“He’s proud of me and I appreciate everything that he’s done for me,” Jones said. “He really set me up talking to colleges for me and he really helped me a lot to get where I got to get to BG.”