Oklahoma record-setting quarterback Landry Jones had his thunder stolen by Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, but Jones will have a chance to make his own noise and increase his NFL draft status when he plays in the 2013 Senior Bowl on January 26.
Jones is a terrific passer but he did have some games that showed inconsistency and poor decision-making. Against Kansas State, Jones fumbled inside his own 15-yard line which led to a Wildcat go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. Up 13-10 late in the third quarter, Jones was intercepted by Ty Zimmerman and the ensuing drive by Kansas State resulted in a touchdown which gave the Wildcats another go-ahead lead that would never be relinquished—Kansas State won 24-19.
That type of performance needs to filed away forever in Jones' mind.
It's hard to fathom that Jones—the Big 12's all-time leader in both passing yards (16,646) and total offense (16,271)—needs to increase his draft stock. Jones' stats bettered former Sooner quarterback Sam Bradford, a quarterback who rehabbed from a serious shoulder injury, missed the 2010 NFL combine yet was still selected as the first overall pick (St. Louis) in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Yet one NFL Draft Scout site has Jones rated as the seventh-best quarterback available in the 2013 draft. Seventh?
ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper held a media teleconference call last Wednesday and told reporters that Landry Jones is a "third-to-fifth-round guy." Kiper also said that Miami (OH) quarterback Zac Dysert could be the first guy off the boards on day three of the draft.
Obviously, Landry Jones has a lot of room to move up in the draft and that could start with the 2013 Senior Bowl. It's not an NFL combine but it does offer another chance for Jones to show off his skills and (hopefully) improved decision-making in a live game setting.
It also offers scouts a chance to compare Jones against Dysert, who will be one of the quarterbacks playing in the Senior Bowl.
If Jones can consistently throw clean, crisp balls—but decisively throw the ball away if he's under heavy pressure—he can climb up the stock ladder. The practices leading up to the game will also be heavily scrutinized by NFL scouts so the week-long process can help Jones if he's on his A-game.
Jones will be competing against other quarterbacks who will also have a vested interest in this game: Mike Glennon (North Carolina State), EJ Manuel (Florida State), Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) and Tyler Wilson (Arkansas).
Matt Barkley (USC) and Geno Smith (West Virginia) will not playing in the Senior Bowl, according to NFL.com.
Without Smith and Barkley to draw comparisons to in a live game setting, Jones should be able to take advantage of their absences and perhaps even upstage Glennon.
Landry Jones' stock will go up with outstanding practices leading up to a solid Senior Bowl performance.