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2020 NFL Draft

Cardale Jones wants NFL teams to know he has a big arm, and a big brain

COLUMBUS — Cardale Jones can throw the football a mile, and the Ohio State quarterback let it rip at the school's Pro Day on Friday.

Jones, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound prospect who remains somewhat of an enigma for NFL teams trying to determine whether they should draft him, looked sharp last week in front of personnel from all 32 clubs.

The Cleveland native and Glenville High School alum flaunted his big arm — a dynamic that earned him the nickname "12 Gauge" — and showed touch with crisp passes over the middle.

"That was one of my main focus points today," Jones said. "The script was really taking shots downfield."

But the message Jones — the quarterback who grew up before fans' eyes lifting the Buckeyes to the 2015 national championship — wants teams to know is he has a big brain, too.

"I think I surprised a lot of teams with how smart I am — I mean I can see why, actually — but just knowing ball and talking ball, things like that," Jones said. "I think they got the impression that I'm humble and mature."

After all, Jones was known as Ohio State's class clown, and coach Urban Meyer likes to say he had a "one-way bus ticket" back to Cleveland at different points in their relationship. Even last August, quarterbacks coach Tim Beck describe Jones as "freewheeling" in a preseason interview with reporters.

Until Jones proved his worth on the field during Ohio State's postseason run two seasons ago, he was best known for writing "We ain't come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS" on Twitter as a freshman.

Because of this, Jones has faced — and in some ways, still faces -- an uphill battle of sorts in trying to dispel the notion that his on-field potential is outweighed by past transgressions.

"I'm going to show them who I am. I'm pretty sure there's some negative stereotypes on me," he said at the league's annual scouting combine last month.

Jones also must address questions over how his skill set might translate to the NFL and whether he has the chops to be a franchise quarterback — especially considering he was taken out of the starting lineup last year in favor of the sophomore J.T. Barrett.

Jones, though, played down that notion.

"There's so many misconceptions about the spread offense at Ohio State, there's so many responsibilities that the quarterback has at the line of scrimmage," Jones said, adding he has been breaking down the Buckeyes offense for league coaches and scouts. "You really don't see that or understand that watching us play."

What is clear, however, is his athletic ability. At the combine, the big-bodied Jones turned heads after running the 40-yard dash in 4.81 seconds and posting a 36-inch vertical (which tied Memphis' Paxton Lynch for the best jump of any quarterback).

In the coming months, Jones said he will meet with a handful of teams. Asked where he'd like to be drafted, he shook his head.

"As long as I can get my foot in the door," Jones said. ​

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