Flying J

John Jerry was no stranger to the NFL Draft process. As a junior in 2008-09, he watched as his brother, Peria, celebrated a first-round selection from the Atlanta Falcons.

When Jerry returned to Ole Miss for his senior season, his goal was to improve in all areas of his game. He wanted to be a dominant offensive lineman, with an ability to move inside and or out, depending on the need of a prospective professional organization.

Apparently the hard work paid off. Jerry was selected in the third round, 73rd overall, by the Miami Dolphins Friday.

"Man, this is just incredible," Jerry said. "I'm just soaking everything in right now because there's so much excitement. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to take my game to the NFL."

Jerry started 46 games over his four seasons at Ole Miss, and was a two-time All-SEC honoree. He blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers, including Benjarvus Green-Ellis and fellow draftee Dexter McCluster. He was a first team All-American in 2009.

Jerry and Nutt

He raised his stock with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where he worked under his soon-to-be head coach, Tony Sparano.

Sparano and the Dolphins staff coached the South team, with Jerry rotating between guard and tackle.

"I most definitely impressed them that week," Jerry said. "If I didn't have that week to go down there and play for them, I don't think I would have had a chance to get drafted by them. They just saw my talent."

Still, Jerry remained mum on the Dolphins. He didn't want to jinx the possibility, no matter how strongly he felt about the likelihood of landing in South Beach.

He needed just two sit-down meetings with the Miami brass to make a lasting impression. After the NFL Combine in late February, Jerry had a good indication of where he was headed.

"I had a strong sense about (getting picked by the Dolphins)," Jerry said. "I feel they really got to know me. I had a strong feeling, but I still didn't tell anyone about the Dolphins."

Jerry is the eighth Rebel draftee all-time by the Dolphins and first since another offensive lineman, Todd Wade, was a second-round choice in 2000.

He plans to contribute immediately when the team opens mini-camp later this week.

John Jerry

"That's my mindset – to go in there, compete and win a starting job," he said. "I'm just going to go in there and give what it takes. I know it's going to be a lot of work, but I'm dedicated to the game. I'm more than willing to put that work in.

Jerry was the second Rebel taken on the second day of the draft. He followed McCluster, who was selected a round earlier.

Kendrick Lewis, a three-year starter in the Ole Miss defensive backfield, was later added by Kansas City in the fifth round. Defensive end Greg Hardy was taken by the Carolina Panthers with the 175th overall pick in the sixth.

"I came in with those guys four years ago," Jerry said. "We just left the program better than when we found it. It just put a smile on my face to see those guys (get selected). Their hard work paid off also. It's not just about me.

"It says a lot about the coaching staff we have, too. Coach Nutt and his staff really turned that place around. Guys really bought into it and people are seeing that right now."

Jerry marks the 10th Ole Miss offensive lineman drafted in the last 11 years.

"I told Bill Parcells that Miami was fortunate to get John in the third round," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said. "They are getting an excellent football player. The Dolphins coaches had John in the Senior Bowl and loved his personality, tremendous work ethic and his great feet."

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