NORMAN — As you might expect, Oklahoma junior quarterback Landry Jones said Tuesday that he isn't yet thinking all that much about a jump to the NFL.
But he did acknowledge that the topic has at least entered his mind in December, with nearly a month between the last regular-season game and the Dec. 30 Insight Bowl.
“Maybe a little bit more,” said Jones, who this fall became OU's all-time passing leader. “You start allowing yourself to go there a little bit more. … But I've got plenty of time after the bowl game to sit down and think about what I want to do.”
Jones said he has filed paperwork with the NFL's Draft Advisory Board, but he has not yet heard back from it. Most analysts expect Jones to be projected as a mid-to-late first-rounder.
Repeating what he said a couple of months ago, though, Jones said there is no magic number — pick or round — that would cause him to go one way or the other.
“I think that's just one part of it,” he said. “I think there's a lot of different factors, for what you want to do. Do you want to come back and be a senior? Or do you want to pursue your dream in the NFL? There's a lot of factors that come into play. …
“If it's right for me to go, I'm going to go. If it's right for me to stay, I'm going to stay. I just have to kind of think about it a little bit more.”
Some say Oklahoma's 9-3 season, with Jones throwing no touchdowns in the final three games (two losses), has hurt his stock. But not much, if you look at current projections.
ESPN's top two draft analysts, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, both have Jones as their No. 4 quarterback — but still safely in the first round. Jones is currently 13th overall on Kiper's board, even if the adjoined comment isn't glowingly positive.
“I still like the way he's battled in 2011, but it's fair to say his reputation outpaced his performance this season,” Kiper wrote. “Accuracy is still very good. Good size, strong arm but needs to improve footwork. Still a very good prospect.”
Jones is listed behind Stanford's Andrew Luck, USC's Matt Barkley and Baylor's Robert Griffin III on both Kiper's and McShay's lists.
With that in mind, if Jones returned, he could very well start the 2012 season as the No. 1-rated quarterback (if Barkley leaves early).
As many as nine quarterbacks could go in the first two or three rounds in the 2012 draft. The 2013 pool, at least now, doesn't look nearly as deep.
“I don't think you can make a decision based on whether your class is deep,” Jones said. “In every draft, there's going to be guys. There's going to be quarterbacks, guys who can run, guys who can catch. You have to make the right decision for you.”
The native New Mexican has thrown for an OU-record 12,218 yards in his career, with 92 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. This season, he was 339 for 537 for 4,302 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
The bowl game notwithstanding, he threw for 10 more touchdowns and two fewer interceptions in 2010.
Was there regression? It's debatable, and especially considering the midseason loss of All-American receiver Ryan Broyles. One aspect, the losses, likely isn't helping any perceptions about Jones' year.
“Ultimately, I think this place and quarterbacks here are measured by one thing,” OU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel said. “Fair or unfair, that's what we all get measured by.”
Heupel played the position at OU and bounced around NFL camps until injuries ended his attempt to play professionally. Does he see Jones as NFL-ready at this stage?
“Yeah, I think there's portions that are,” Heupel said. “There's always going to be an adjustment period when you go to that level. There are areas that he could have a bunch of growth on this level, too. Those are the things he gets to weigh.”
Of the half-dozen or so thrown out to him Tuesday, Jones did not really seem to indicate that any one factor would be weighted more than any other.
There might have been one that caused a slight spike in tone and demeanor for the relatively calm Jones: It was the idea of what kind of team OU could field in 2012.
With Jones, even given the disappointment this fall, the Sooners could again be Big 12 favorites next season.
“I think maybe, yeah, that might factor into it,” he said, “whether we might have a good year next year and kind of looking at the recruiting class and the guys who are going to be coming back.”