nicolasjean-baptiste

D.J. Jones may surprise Eagles fans at OT someday…and notable Combine snubs…

Especially since our own Nebraska alumnus JB99 is pretty high on the guy, and since ATV asked for more info on the man, let’s meet the young offensive tackle who was just claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens by the Eagles…

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D.J. Jones, age 23, OT, Nebraska, 6-5, 320, undrafted free agent from the class of 2011…was signed by the Miami Dolphins before the 2011 season. After the Dolphins waived him from their practice squad on Oct. 17, the Ravens signed him to theirs two days later. He was promoted to the 53-man roster in Week 17, but he didn’t play in the season-ending victory in Cincinnati.

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After claiming Jones from the Miami Dolphins (in his Phins uniform above), the Ravens waived the undrafted rookie offensive tackle from Nebraska before their win over the Houston Texans in the AFC divisional round on January 14, 2011…

It’s been a whirlwind season for Jones, who has gone from the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad to the active roster of the Baltimore Ravens to getting claimed off waivers by the Eagles.

Jones was released from both Miami and Baltimore because of personnel moves, and both teams had planned to pick him up again. He’d even had a long talk with his position coach in Baltimore about his future before he was nabbed during the playoffs by the Eagles.

It was a shock because no one with the organization had talked to him beforehand and they haven’t since.

“Someone wrote me on Twitter and said, ‘Welcome to Philly.’ “

Jones admitted he was a little bitter about leaving Baltimore because he really liked the organization and the players on the team. He enjoyed Miami, but he said it was more like being on vacation. “It was just so crazy down there, especially me being a Nebraska guy,” he said. “We don’t have any beaches in Omaha.”

The good thing, Jones said, is that because he was on the active roster with the Ravens, he’ll keep that jump in salary now with the Eagles.

Jones said he realizes that the NFL is a business, so it doesn’t do any good to get upset about moving from team to team. He said he’s in the NFL, other teams want him and he can look in the mirror every day and know that he’s given his best at every stop. “That’s all that matters to me,” he said. “I’m up for new adventures.”

Jones is quite the gospel singer, by the way. At one point in his Husker days he had thought of auditioning for American Idol.  As it turned out, he did get a singing gig at the recent Super Bowl festivities in Indianapolis.  

Jones sang with former and current NFL players in the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration last Friday night at Butler University and last Saturday night at the Taste of NFL party, which previewed the foods that will be served next year at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Jones hasn’t sung in public since his days in the a cappella choir at Omaha Central, which he joined on a dare, but said he jumped at the chance to mix with recording artists such as CeCe Winans, Donnie McClurkin and American Idol winner Fantasia. If former Ravens teammate Ray Lewis could do it, Jones figured that he could too, especially since he was always singing in choirs as a youngster.

“I knew I could still sing,” Jones said. “I always sing in the shower.”

Jones said he’s a little hoarse from all of the fun times he’s been having recently with friends in Omaha. He’s home working out until he reports for spring drills with the Eagles in April.

Here are the NFL Draft Scout numbers on Jones:

40 Time: 4.95      40 Low: 4.88   40 High: 5.05
Projected Round:   Stock:   High: 6-7  Low: PFA
Rated number 34 out of 87 OT’s     413 / 2085 TOTAL

Pro Day Results:

Dates: 03/10/11
Height: 6053
Weight: 310
40 Yrd Dash: 4.92
20 Yrd Dash: 2.86
10 Yrd Dash: 1.75
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 19
Vertical Jump: 26
Broad Jump: 08’02″
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.83
3-Cone Drill: 7.50

   40 Time Range: 4.92-4.98

Okay, he’s a project… But Andy Reid has had his eye on this guy for a while… and we all know Reid cannot resist a gem in the rough on the OL side of the ball…

Jones was snubbed by the NFL Scouting Combine last year. He is not alone. Here’s a list of current Combine snubs as compiled by PE.com’s hot new writer Fran Duffy, who deserves a big ole country “Salute!” for giving us access to this report:

Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, DT, Baylor, 6-2, 335, who squats 600 lbs., is among the most notable and unexpected snubs of the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine… be sure to consider him as one of your undrafted free agent wild cards on your Mach 10 ballots this year…

NOTABLE COMBINE SNUBS (by Fran Duffy):

Quarterback:

G.J. Kinne, Tulsa, 6-2, 215 – One of the more underrated players in this draft class, Kinne is a coach’s son who grew up in a football culture and originally signed with the University of Texas out of high school. After transferring to Tulsa, Kinne became one of the most productive quarterbacks in school history. Kinne displays decent accuracy, sneaky athleticism, and shows a certain moxie in the pocket. He has a good arm, and the ball flies out of his hand when he’s under pressure. I have seen some compare him to former Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia, and I honestly think that’s a very good comparison. He’s not the biggest prospect, and he struggles making progressions from time to time, but he was a name that mildly surprised me as being left off of the Combine invite list.

Running Back:

Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky, 5-7, 208 – Rainey has been one of the most productive ball carriers in all of college football over the past four seasons. The former Hilltopper, despite his small stature, has led the nation in carries each of the past two seasons, and finished 2011 as the second-leading rusher in terms of yards per game. Rainey is a tough player who gives all-out effort on every down as a runner and blocker. He’s a sure-handed receiver in the pass game as well, and could have a future in the return game at the next level. Though he doesn’t have elite speed or quickness, Rainey is a prospect who will dare you to bet against him, just so he can prove you wrong down the road.

Michael Smith, Utah State, 5-8, 207 – If you follow the NFL Draft, you may think that this is a typo and that I’m naming the wrong Utah State running back. If that’s the case, you would be wrong. In watching film on running back Robert Turbin (of whom I’m also a big fan), I noticed that his backfield-mate, Smith, was also a solid prospect in his own right. Though he isn’t the biggest back and isn’t going to run away from anyone in the NFL, Smith does all the little things right that coaches love. He is a very good blocker in the run game as well as in pass protection, and a reliable receiver who doesn’t put the ball on the ground. Smith is also a productive contributor on special teams, which is huge for a third or fourth-string running back. While he may not get drafted, I’m of the belief that Smith will sign with a team and stick with a squad after training camp in August.

Wide Receiver:

Lance Lewis, East Carolina, 6-0, 209 – A versatile receiver who produced from a number of different spots in the Pirate offense, Davis is a high-upside player who flashed ability at the Shrine Game. He’s a physical prospect who exhibits good quickness off the line and excellent ball skills when the ball is in the air. He doesn’t have elite speed or dynamic playmaking ability, but Lewis is the type of complete receiver teams covet in that he plays fast, loves to block, and fights for the football.

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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