Judgements: Jarvis Jones just one among group of boom-or-bust prospects
By Clark Judge | Senior NFL Columnist
Feb. 23, 2013
Despite his immense talent, teams might stear clear of Jarvis Jones because of his spinal stenosis.
INDIANAPOLIS -- He didn't draw a Manti Te'o crowd, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be interested in what happens to Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones because there are a lot of teams that are.
And for good reason: He could be the best player in this draft.
But he's not, and he's not because of spinal stenosis -- a narrowing of the spinal canal -- that should make Jones and NFL clubs nervous. It caused USC to fail him on a physical, and it had doctors examining him for so many hours Saturday he didn't appear for an interview until after 5 p.m. -- or hours after the Te'o crush dispersed.
"Most of the doctors checked me out and feel that I'm fine," said Jones. "I feel that I'm healthy. The doctors feel like I'm healthy. So I'm excited."
That's great, except it's what tests reveal that matter. Jones admitted there was "no final word" from physicians and that he hopes to receive it by the end of this weekend or sometime next week. In the meantime, however, color his future uncertain.
"There's real concern," one scout said. "It's serious. I doubt that he's going to pass many teams' physicals."
That's too bad because the guy has so much talent that the same scout said he might make him his top draft pick ("certainly in my top five"), but that medical concerns worry him. And he won't be the only one.
"If doctors told me I couldn't play today, I think I've had a great run and I would just take it for what it's worth," said Jones. "It would hurt me [not to play]. I love this game. I'm passionate about this game. But I'd rather walk and enjoy myself and my family than not be able to walk away from this game."
2. Jones isn't the only Georgia linebacker under the microscope. Alec Ogletree is another. There are plenty of teams out there that can use someone of his ability, but it's not his ability that's an issue. It's his maturity.
"The guy's an immature idiot," said one player personnel director.
That's one way of putting it. Another is that he's a character concern, with last week's DUI arrest the latest blip on the radar. It wasn't his only arrest; only his most recent, and combine that with a four-game suspension for a positive drug test, and you have a risk some people may not be willing to take.
"I'm a good person," Ogletree told reporters. "Everybody makes mistakes. I feel bad about the situation, but I'm learning from it and I'm moving forward."
He may not be moving forward in the draft. Ogletree is a potential first-round pick who is explosive, strong, quick, and instinctive, and he could be a high first-round choice. But his recent arrest will back off potential suitors, with one scout telling me it could cause his team to pass on the guy.
"I don't know what it's going to do (to my draft status)," said Ogletree. "I feel bad about it. I'm really sorry about it, but I just have to move forward and take whatever I get."