Oklahoma football: What if Landry Jones had gone pro?
Landry Jones remains a lightning rod quarterback, though that might be considered a redundancy. Any quarterback, any starting quarterback, any starting Oklahoma quarterback, will come under much scrutiny.
But here’s all you need to know about Jones’ status as a QB. If he had declared for the NFL Draft, Jones would be picked fourth overall. At worst. No way would the Cleveland Browns, drafting fourth, pass on Jones. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III would be going 1-2, but Jones would change the complexion of the draft.
Minnesota picks third, and the Vikings aren’t in the market for a quarterback, but it’s possible some team — the Dolphins, for example — might trade up to get ahead of Cleveland and take Jones. Jones (or, to be fair, Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley, had he turned pro) would be the No. 3 quarterback in the draft. Now, Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill holds that status, with Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden probably fourth.
But Tannehill has plenty of doubters; he was a wide receiver 19 Texas A&M games ago and threw the ball to the other team quite a bit after moving to quarterback. Weeden, too, has skeptics, since he’ll be 29 years old in mid-season 2012.
Jones’ game absolutely would be picked apart, too. But even though quarterbacks are heavily scrutinized in the days and weeks leading up to the draft, they also rise in the picking order. Look at 2011. At one point, Auburn’s Cam Newton was considered a squishy prospect. He went No. 1 overall. Washington’s Jake Locker was not considered an elite prospect; he went No. 8 to the Titans. Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, a fine collegiate ballplayer, went No. 10 overall, to Jacksonville. Big 12 followers were amazed. Then Florida State’s Christian Ponder, a second-round prospect if ever there was one, went No. 12 overall to the Vikings.
The lesson is clear. NFL teams always are looking for quarterbacks. Which is great news for Tannehill (and Weeden) and would have been great news for Jones, had he been in this draft.
All of which is why the segment of OU fans eager to see Jones depart are foolish. The Sooners have done a phenomenal job of churning out quality quarterbacks in the Bob Stoops era, but such quarterbacking is not guaranteed. The odds are greater, much greater, actually, that OU’s efficiency will go down, not up, after Landry Jones.
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