March 27, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Auburn corner Jonathan Jones to visit Steelers, patterns game after Brent Grimes
Although Auburn cornerback Jonathan Jones isn't the biggest defensive back at 5-9, 186 pounds, NFL teams covet his combination of athleticism and cover skills. Jones ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the NFL scouting combine where he had a 36-inch vertical leap and bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times. He's scheduled to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers and is also drawing interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. "It's going pretty well so far," Jones said. "I'm getting a lot of good feedback from teams. As a rookie, I'd like to contribute any way I can. My personal goals are to get on the field at corner and play on special teams." Jones patterns his game after a similarly-sized NFL cornerback: Tampa Bay Buccaneers corner Brent Grimes. He has also drawn comparisons to San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett. "My speed at corner is ideal," said Jones, who won the national 110-meter hurdles in high school. "There are a lot of fast receivers out there. I'm a little undersized, but people are surprised by my physicality on the field. When it's man on man, all things go out the window and it's all about who comes down with the football." Jones intercepted six passes in 2014 and was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference. He had foot surgery last spring, which hampered him a bit last fall, but he still started every game and had 69 tackles, one interception and 13 pass deflections. He had a strong week at the Senior Bowl all-star game. "The combine helped me a lot," Jones said. "I was coming off an injury going into my senior year and the season wasn't up to my expectations. The Senior Bowl combined with the combine let people know I'm back healthy and I'm the player they thought I was." The Georgia native chose Auburn over Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and Stanford. Jones overcame a broken ankle as a sophomore. A the scouting combine, Jones met with 29 of 32 teams. He met informally with the Texans. He met with every team except for the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers. "The interviews went great and the workout went very good," Jones said. "I'm hard on myself, but it's going pretty well. I can't wait for the draft to get here." Follow me on Twitter: @twitter.com/AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.