Last weekend, multiple reports emerged that multiple teams had taken Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones off their draft boards, for the same reason USC took Jones off the Trojans roster.
It’s a narrowing of the spine that makes a football player more susceptible to a spinal-cord injury. Thus, some doctors (like those at USC) won’t be comfortable signing their names to paperwork clearing the player for potential paralysis.
Predictably, Jones scoffs at the report.
“That ain’t true
,” tells Jeff Schulz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
. “People are still talking to me. Nobody has taken me off the board. The doctor said I was fine and cleared me and the Combine went fine for me. I was cleared medically. Teams know my situation. Everything went great. I did everything they asked me to do. I’ll have my Pro Day [at Georgia on March 21], and then I’m going to meet with a whole lot of teams.”
All due respect to Jones, how does he know that teams haven’t taken him off the board at the insistence of their own doctors? The teams aren’t going to tell Jones that in advance of the draft. Teams that don’t want a player want other teams to want him, so that another team will use a pick on the player and push other players farther down the board.
Trainer Tom Shaw also believes he has access to the inner thoughts of every team on the question of Jones’ health. “No one has taken him off the board,” Shaw told Schulz. “That’s just news reporters. Jarvis got real upset about it because he doesn’t even know why that was going on.”
Yeah, that’s just news reporters. Reporting, you know, news. Relying on, you know, sources who know what team executives are really saying at a time when those executives don’t realize that the people to whom they are speaking might share that information with, you know, news reporters.
Schulz writes that Jones attributes the dynamic to the pre-draft misinformation process. But Schulz fails to account for even the possibility that the things teams are directly saying to Jones
constitute pre-draft misinformation. Indeed, Schulz seems to be more concerned with taking some sort of bizarre pleasure
in the fact that Jones opted to do the obvious and predictable thing: Deny the reports regarding the health condition that prompted USC to dump him.
None of this means Jones will plunge down the draft board. Georgia welcomed Jones when USC became reluctant to keep him, and there surely will be teams that are willing to resolve the risk-reward analysis by taking a chance on a guy who knows and accepts the possibility of a serious injury.
“[I]f you discount a player because of injuries, you miss out on a lot of good players
,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz recently told Anwar Richardson of MLive.com. “This league is filled with guys that have had major injuries in college that have bounced back and had successful NFL careers.”
Jones could be one of those guys. And someone will roll the dice on Jones.
But that doesn’t mean multiple teams won’t. And that was the gist of last week’s report.