In fact, it's almost amazing how far this former quarterback has come in such a short period of time.
Entering the NFL combine, he was little more than an afterthought in the eyes of the average scout. Perhaps a fifth or sixth round selection, Jones was probably a "project" by National Football League standards.
Sure, he led several tremendous comebacks during his days as a Razorback, and he also displayed a certain swagger that would undoubtedly improve his stock in the months leading up to the draft.
But an early second round selection? A first round selection? No way.
I'm here to tell you, yes way.
Standing in at 6-feet-6 inches tall, weighing 242 pounds, and running a legitimate 4.37 forty at the NFL combine, Jones has seen his stock rise like no other prospect available for the 2005 NFL Draft.
Just ask Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden. After coaching Jones during the Senior Bowl, he made the following comments about the future pass catcher:
|"He makes unbelievable catches, one a one-handed grab in the end zone away from his body. You have to look at a lot of film to find a play like that," said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden.|
"It is a different kind of running and he must get acclimated to the conditioning that it takes to play another position. He understands football and has great talent," said the Bucs' head man.
From the Senior Bowl, to the NFL Combine, to Arkansas' Pro Day, Matt Jones has delivered strong performances time and time again.
The former Razorback also has several things working in his favor for the Dallas Cowboys.
No. 1, you simply cannon ignore the fact that he played his college football at Arkansas. There is a natural connection there with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
No. 2, the Cowboys need help at wide receiver. With an aging group led by Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, not to mention the highly volatile Quincy Morgan, Dallas must look to this year's draft for help.
No. 3, Jones instantly creates matchup problems as a wide receiver. At 6-6 with legitimate 4.38 speed, he makes the difficult catch look easy.
No. 4, simply put, he's one of the best, if not the best athlete available in this year's draft. At 6-6, he has size to play tight end. With his speed, he has the ability to play wide receiver. And with his 39.5-inch vertical jump, he has the potential to become a human highlight reel.
Perhaps the best quote that came from Gruden after the Senior Bowl says it best.
"How do you not like Matt Jones?" Gruden asked. "The guy doesn't say much, busts his butt, can run like hell and catch and can clobber you if he feels like it. Those are the kind of guys you win games with."
Sounds like a winner to me.
And I bet it sounds like one to Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells as well.