If there’s one NFL player player reminiscent of 2013 Draft prospect Abry Jones, it might be former Packer Jarius Wynn.
Both are defensive linemen and products of the University of Georgia, and both came from a military background.
Before taking his game to the SEC, Wynn played two years of JUCO football at Georgia Military College, which left a profound impact on him. Even during his interviews with the media, Wynn’s responses were frequently punctuated with instances of “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am.”
Wynn then came to Green Bay where he played for three years and was a member of the championship team winning Super Bowl XLV.
As for Jones, his miltiary background is slightly different. His parents, both members of the Army, were stationed in Germany where Jones spent grades one through four.
While he never himself enlisted, having a mother and father in the military helped to make Jones more disciplined and regimented than most kids growing up, which he thinks can only help as NFL teams give preference for players without off-field issues, all other things being equal.
“Teams are really harping on having good character guys,” Jones said at the NFL Combine, “and seeing as I was raised by a military family and I don’t have a bad history myself, I think that’s a plus for me.”
In comparison to Wynn, Jones is much bigger. While both are 6-3, Wynn was just 285 lbs. and ill suited for the Packers 3-4 defense, part of the reason he was let go during training camp last season and just Wednesday signed with the San Diego Chargers.
Jones weighed in at 313 lbs. at the Combine and has experience playing in multiple defensive systems over the course of his college career.
If Jones happens to appeal to the Packers in the mid to late rounds of April’s Draft, they’ll be getting a player whose grown comfortable in Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s scheme over the past few seasons.
“I’ve been a 3-4 system for a while, so I think I fit there the best,” said Jones. “I would like to play 3-4, but I think I can pretty much fit in any system.”
In addition to playing in both a 4-3 and a 3-4 defensive front, Jones also has lined up all over the defensive line: across from the center, guard and tackle, a shade to the side of any one of them.
In the base 3-4 Jones is capable of playing the five-technique over the shoulder of the offensive tackle while still being able to slide inside as an interior pass rusher when the situation calls for it.
During his junior year Jones had best season to date with seven tackles for a loss, but a left ankle injury cut his senior season short after seven games just as he was beginning to blossom as a player.
Jones underwent surgery in October, which wore on him mentally, especially seeing how close Georgia was to playing for the national championship and not being able to be contribute. But once he got off his crutches, he committed himself to his rehab and insists he’s now fully healthy.
“Team doctors were looking at X-rays,” explained Jones. “My X-rays were great. There’s really no problems really in my ankle. They tested it out and said it’s stable and everything, it’s fine.”
After sitting out the running drills at the Combine to buy himself more time to rest and recover, Jones performed in front of scouts at Georgia’s pro day in mid-March, running as fast as 5.19 in the 40-yard dash, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com.
There’s little more he can do now but wait.
“I’m back and healthy,” said Jones. “I’m just ready to start playing football again.”