The Chargers and Cardinals plan to send representatives to Ohio over the next several days for last-minute meetings with former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler reported Thursday.
Fowler’s report comes from a conversation with Ted Ginn Sr., who coached Jones at Cleveland Glenville High School and has served as a mentor to him. Ginn Sr. and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer used their NFL contacts in early 2015 to gather information on how teams viewed Jones after Jones went from backup to starter for Ohio State’s final three games as the Buckeyes won the 2014 national title.
Jones decided to return to school and was benched last fall despite not losing a game as a college starter. His NFL evaluation isn’t any less complicated this year, and multiple teams taking cross-country visits to gather more information on Jones the week before the draft confirms that teams aren’t totally sure how to view Jones as a prospect.
Jones is big — a legit 6-foot-5 and 253 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in February — and has exceptional arm strength, but even Meyer has admitted that Jones has to prove he loves football and has said whichever team drafts Jones will have to be patient with his development.
It’s tough to find players with that size and arm strength combination, and Jones seems to fit the mold of what Cardinals coach Bruce Arians likes in his quarterbacks. The Chargers signed Philip Rivers to a four-year extension last year and would be in position to bring Jones along slowly.
With quarterbacks seemingly locked into the first two picks of next week’s draft, teams looking for help at the position might have to bump the remaining quarterbacks up their boards. There aren’t many — and maybe aren’t any — who have the physical gifts Jones has, so these meetings could prove to be very important.