Drafted with the 30th pick in the 1st round of the 2004 draft, Jones had a successful rookie season with the Lions and became only the third running back in franchise history to rush for 1,000+ yards in his rookie season, joining the ranks of Billy Sims and Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.
As a freshman at Virginia Tech Jones set a Tech freshman record with 957 rushing yards. He was voted the BIG EAST rookie of the year and was a second-team Freshman All-America selection by the Sporting News in 2001. Jones ranked fifth among D-1A freshman for the season and third among true freshmen. Playing as an alternate in 2002 with Lee Suggs, Jones managed 871 total yards for 5.4 yards per carry. In 2003, after the departure of Lee Suggs, Jones finally got his shot to carry the load for the hokies as a junior and he did not dissapoint. He broke out, recording 281 carries for 1647 yards (a 5.9 average) and 21 TD's. Jones finished his career at Virginia Tech with 3,475 yards and 35 touchdowns on 616 carries (5.6 yards per car. avg.), His 3,475 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns both rank second on the school's career-record list.
Why am I bringing up our once stud running back whose promising career was ruined during the "Dark Years" of the Millen era? Because the way he started his career is way too similiar to that of our current starting running back in Kevin Smith, who I happen believe is not a quality starter in the NFL. Sorry if that offends some of you. Now I must admit that I might've been too harsh in calling him a bum in one of my previous posts, but there is not one thing that he does particularly well or that stands out to me watching him play. He just doesn't run with enough tenacity that a starting running back in the NFL should run with.
Given Kevin Jones did get picked basically a full round ahead of Smith and had higher expectations, he too had a solid rookie season behind a terrible offense line assembled by Mitt Millen himself. His stats:
G:15 GS:14 Att:241 Yds:1,113 Avg:4.7 Long:74 TDs:5 Rec:28 Yds:180 Avg:6.4 Long:34 TD:1 FUM:2 Lost:1
With an offensive line that featured Jeff Backus, David Loverne, Dominic Raola, Damien Woody, and Stockar McDougle, Jones finished 13th in the NFL in rushing yards, and first among all rookies that year. Not a bad start, catching my drift...
In his second season, Jones underachieved due to injuries that nagged him all year... sound familiar? His stats:
G:13 GS:13 Att: 186 Yds:664 Avg:3.6 Long:40 TDs:5 Rec:20 Yds:109 Avg:5.5 Long:28 TD:0 FUM:2 Lost:1
Jones' collegiate career was quite promising too and his stats after his first two seasons are stunningly similar to that of Smith:
G: 28 GS: 27 Att: 427 Yds: 1,777 Avg:4.2 Long:74 TDs: 10 Rec: 48 Yds: 289 Avg:6 Long:34 TD:1 FUM:4 Lost: 2
Other than the fact that Smith had 32 more receptions than Jones for about 400 more yards, their stats are about the same after their first 2 seasons. I'm deffinately not about to praise a guy who "almost" rushed for 1,000 yards his rookie year then failed to produce his second. Now I know it may not be fair to compare the two, but there is an alarming amount of similiarities between them and I don't think Smith is a legitimate starter. Again, I'm sorry if I offended any of you by calling Smith a bum and for bringing up painful memories of the Millen era, but the purpose of my last post was not to argue over whether or not Smith is a bum. It was to discuss the possibility of a trade down with the Seahawks or Browns, and who to pick if Suh, Berry, Okung, and Mccoy were off the board. I think drafting Spiller with the 6th or 7th pick and then drafting Blount in the 5th round would give us great depth at the RB position and reduce Smith's role in our offense, where he might be better suited as a 3rd down back. Our depth chart at RB would look as follows:
The possibility of this excites me. If we swap picks with either the Browns or Hawks, we would receive an additional 2nd and possibly 3rd or 4th rounder. Draft Spiller, a DB and an O-linemen in the 2nd, and then another DB with our third rounder (which is basically a late 2nd) and possibly even sign Pitts or Andrews, now tell me that isn't a great offseason. With a much improved running game, defensive line and better defensive backs, I see us as a darkhorse for the wildcard.