ATHENS – UGA’s Pro Day ended around lunchtime on Thursday. Even before viewers who tuned in on ESPN3 could polish off their meals and return to their desks at work, reports were surfacing about how poorly Jarvis Jones performed in the frigid workouts on Georgia’s Woodruff Practice Fields.
The Bulldogs’ two-time All-American stumbled on his first run at the 40-yard dash and then was clocked at just 4.85 seconds on his second pass. Jones fell again during the linebackers’ pass skeleton drill and generally didn’t look fantastically athletic.
Then again, Jones was never asked to beat a left tackle off the snap and sack a quarterback. Last time I checked he was pretty good at that. But I’m guessing the dozens of NFL scouts that engulfed Georgia’s football facility Thursday have access to the video of Jones’ work against Missouri and Florida this past season.
That’s not saying these exercises are much ado about nothing. A few of the Bulldogs probably improved their stock a little on Thursday. But what these guys did while they played at Georgia is a much greater factor.
Jones and his representatives are banking on it.
“At the end of the day, everybody knows what I do,” said Jones, who is expected to be the first pass rusher taken. “I’m a football player. I compete. Today, I left it on the field. It is what it is. I’ve just got to take my visits and continue to work on becoming a better football player.”
It certainly would be hard to improve on what he did in college. His first season with the Bulldogs was as a sophomore after transferring from Southern Cal and he led the SEC with 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. Jones added 14.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss as a junior this past season, along with an interception, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His best performances came in nationally-televised games against Missouri and Florida.
But Jones believes what he did after the season and before these workouts was his most important work. That’s when he visited with several doctors and gained a thumbs-up medically for the neck injury that ended his career at USC.
“I knew my situation coming in and everybody else knows my situation,” Jones said. “What was most important for me was to get cleared medically. We did what the doctors asked us to do and I got cleared and that was a blessing. Now I’m looking forward to what’s coming ahead for me. . . . I’m happy right now.”
While it wasn’t great day on the field for Jones, it was for several others. Alec Ogletree ran a 4.62 40, Branden Smith went over 10 feet on his broad jump and clocked 4.37 in the 40.
But the real winner Thursday was the Georgia football program. Seventeen Bulldogs worked out for scouts and NFL executives. Every single NFL team had representation and some had two or more on hand. Ninety-five media members chronicled the events, including an ESPN television crew that broadcasted the proceedings live online.
Said Jones: “Today was a great moment for this university. All the guys that were out there today have sacrificed for this moment. We definitely worked hard to get to this moment. It’s a blessing to see all those guys come out there and get a chance to get to the next level. I’m excited for them, I’m excited for myself. . . .
"At the end of the day I think I'm the No. 1 player.”
Forty times notwithstanding.
Here are the numbers from the participating athletes:
A week after a pair of unimpressive losses, Georgia Tech regained a bit of its footing. The Yellow Jackets delivered an emphatic 87-57 thrashing of East Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion to head into their final exam week on an up note.