Even as the next NFL draft is more than six months away, most draftniks have already pegged Oklahoma’s Landry Jones as a sure-fire top-ten — if not top-five — draft pick should he decide to leave a year of eligibility on the table.
For those looking for the quarterback to publicly tip his hand on which way he may be leaning, you’ll have search elsewhere.
Broaching the subject extensively for the first time this season, Jones said he really hasn’t thought much about the NFL as he attempts to get the Sooners back to the BcS championship game for the first time since 2008. Jones added that he won’t make a decision until after the season, which could be January 9 the way the top-ranked Sooners are playing.
The deadline for draft eligible players to declare their intentions is mid-January.
“We’ll wait until after the season to see where I’m at,” Jones said Tuesday. “I haven’t made a… I haven’t thought about that much yet. …
“I haven’t really put much thought into it, to be honest with you. I really wouldn’t know until I get in that situation or really understand what anyone’s basing that on or against.
“It’ll be a big decision. I’ll definitely have to think about it, but I just have to see how it is after the season, what kind of position I’m in.”
The position OU would find themselves in would be a very similar one. Following the 2008 season, Sam Bradford was in a situation similar to what his predecessor Jones will be facing. Bradford opted to stay another season, got injured and missed most of the 2009 season, but still ended up being the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft.
Head coach Bob Stoops pointed to Bradford, as well as the Manning brothers, as an example of what another season could do for Jones, although he stopped far, far short of saying his starter should definitely remain at the collegiate level for another season.
“I want him to really make an educated (decision) and have a full understanding of all it entails,” Stoops said. “For instance, look at the history of the draft and how many guys went out as quarterbacks that had another year, compared to the guys who didn’t.
“Who knows this system and game better than Archie Manning? His two sons were pretty special. They didn’t go out early. It’s worked out pretty good for them. Seems to have worked out pretty good for Sam (Bradford).”
Should Jones decide to make the early leap to the NFL, it’s almost assured he would not be the top overall pick in the draft; that honor is virtually guaranteed to go to Stanford’s Andrew Luck, widely viewed as the most complete pro prospect at the position since Peyton Manning in 1998. If USC’s Matt Barkley and/or Baylor’s Robert Griffin decide to leave early as well, Jones could face some rather stiff competition for the No. 2 QB spot as well.
That’s a ways down the road for Jones, however. For now, he has more important things to worry about, like a late-November Bedlam date with Oklahoma State and, potentially, a January trip to New Orleans.