Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday that he is more fit to be selected in this year’s draft than he was last year, according to USA Today.
As a third-year sophomore in 2015, Jones was rumored to be preparing to announce his early entry into the draft before broadcasting his decision to stay at Ohio State for an additional year, a decision he said Thursday he did not regret. Despite getting benched in the middle of his junior season, Jones said the extra playing time helped him prepare for the NFL.
“A year helped me a little more with maturity things,” Jones said. “Being faced with different obstacles for the season and things like that. I think this year going back to school definitely did help.”
In 2015, Jones logged a 62.3% completion rate for 1,459 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games. In 2014, he helped Ohio State win a national title after Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett suffered injuries.
While 2015 didn't go as smoothly as Jones's only three starts of 2014—wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to secure a title—he said he feels like a better prospect now.
“The experience I gained this last year, the size, the ability and knowledge of the game,” Jones explained. “My smarts. I don’t think I get a lot of credit for how cerebral I am as a quarterback. I think I’m ready for that role. Only time will tell.”
Jones does not expect to be selected in the first round of the draft, but has not been deterred by his potential drop in prospect status.
“My goal is to get a foot in the door,” he said. “Let my preparation and my play and my leadership take it from there. The opportunity is definitely way more important than anything.”
The 2016 NFL draft will take place from April 29 to 30, with the Tennessee Titans holding the first pick.