Sleeping WR Prospect Wakes Up; Birds Notice

Every team looks to find that sleeper. The guy who other teams overlook, but has the talent to play in the NFL. The Eagles thought they had a sleeper at wide receiver, but now, he's wide awake and other teams have spotted him.

For a virtually unknown NFL draft prospect just a few months ago, Jacoby Jones is rapidly losing his obscurity.

The Division II star wide receiver and return specialist from Lane College (Tenn.) has parlayed intriguing size, athleticism and a strong East-West Shrine game into major attention from around the league as the draft approaches.

That interest includes the Philadelphia Eagles, who were in on Jones early. Lately though a bunch of other teams have joined the hunt and the New Orleans native is slated for nine visits in 14 days, including trips to Philadelphia, the San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. The New England Patriots have scheduled Jones for a private workout, too.

"I don't think Jacoby is a sleeper anymore," said Jones' agent, Harold Lewis. "His best football is ahead of him."

Lewis said seven other teams requested visits from Jones, but he couldn't fit them in because April 20 is the last day that NFL clubs can schedule incoming rookie visits.

"It's been nonstop interest," Lewis said.

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Jones flashed 4.53 speed in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine and recorded a 10-foot-9 broad jump. He gained four pounds by his campus workout and ran a 4.50 on natural grass.

He caught four passes for 57 yards at the East-West game, the same venue where New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston gained prominence a year ago prior to becoming a seventh-round steal.
Jones initially signed a track scholarship with Southeastern Louisiana before transferring to Lane in 2003.

He caught 200 career passes for 2,750 yards and 21 touchdowns. As a senior, he registered 68 receptions for 822 yards and six touchdowns, running back three kicks for touchdowns.
"He's a great kid," Lewis said. "He's a refreshing Terrell Owens because he's big and fast without the attitude problems."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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