– Alabama’s star studded offensive line has three players in this year’s draft, each expected to go relatively early. While it’s guard Chance Warmack and, to a lesser extent, T D.J. Fluker stealing the headlines, versatile lineman Barrett Jones was considered one of the lynchpins of the group as he willingly moved from position to position throughout his career.
– By the time Jones was through, he spent considerable time at center, right guard and left tackle. He may be considered a jack of all trades, master of none but he does have experience all over the line. At the NFL level, he’s expected to be an interior player exclusively.
– Jones also is an entertaining interview. Here’s his thoughts on a number of topics, including playing with such dominant teammates at Alabama.
Ht./Wt: 6-6, 306
What it was like to end his career with two straight national champs:
“I’ve been very blessed to play on some awesome teams, had a really great career. Obviously, that means nothing here. I’m just trying to go to the next chapter. He sustained a lis franc injury to his left foot, had surgery, and is still in a walking boot.
Where does he stand?
He says it’s a four-month injury, and he’s six weeks from surgery. “I’m still not back for a few months. I had a lis franc injury where I tore some ligaments in my foot.”
Is he losing some ground not being able to compete?
“Obviously, that’s the first thing that comes to your mind. You’ve got to realize you can’t control that. I can’t control that I was hurt. I just have to focus on the things I can control. That’s interview well and doing all the little things right.
“I hope I have a lot of game film, maybe not at center, but at different positions. I feel like I’m intelligent. I know how to study the game well, make very few mental errors. That’s what separates me apart.”
“I think it’s very important to be balanced, and in college that’s something I put a big emphasis on, especially academics, obviously. My faith is something that’s very important to me. That’s a big reason I did a lot of this community service. I’ve been on several mission trips to different countries.”
He said he’s been to missions in Honduras, Haiti and Nicaragua. What was the toughest position switch?
“They were all tough. But I’d say probably left tackle. That’s just a tough position. I played that in 2011. Especially in the SEC, you’re going against elite pass-rushers. It’s a tough position to pick up in a few months, but I did all right.”
The value of playing multiple positons?
“When you play a lot of positions, it allows you to learn the offense from diff perspectives. You stop memorizing the offense and start understanding it. That’s the biggest reason playing center mentally wasn’t that big a challenge. I understood the offense and what we were trying to accomplish.”
Where does he think the pros see him?
“I’ve heard different things. Most of them have probably been center. I’ll play wherever.”
Where did he feel the most comfortable?
“I felt most comfortable where I played least. If you asked me last year I would have been most comfortable at left tackle. Right now, i’m definitely most comfortable at center. I really like center because I enjoy the mental part of it. It’s the most mentally challenging offensive line position. Just to be honest, I’m kind of a control freak. I like that aspect, to be in control. And kind of point out to other people their assignments.”
Is that why he got in the beef with QB A.J. McCarron?
“Push gate as they call it; the push heard ‘round the world. “I don’t know if that’s what shows it. I’m not saying I’m not a strong headed guy. But I think that really came down to two guys who were still competing at the end of the game, and had a very minor disagreement. It was not a big deal at all. Two seconds later we were hugging on the sideline. He got in my face a little bit, I had to remind him.”
Why some of the Alabama players are a little beat up, even now going into the Combine?
“People don’t realize it’s tougher for us to come here and compete in the combine. Because we play so late. We’re still not maybe as healthy as everybody else. When you play in the SEC, you get beat up, especially when you have a lot of bowl practices and you’re playing a game that’s not till Jan. 7. It’s tough to get back to full speed for this.”
What was it like playing on a line with two first-round players?
“You’re writing me off as a first-rounder? Thanks.” He said that laughing. “It was fun this year. Obviously, playing beside Chance (Warmack), that’s a huge advantage. He really made me look good A lot of my highlight film, a lot of it has to be on combo blocks with Chance. “That was fun playing with those guys. It’s fun to be part of an elite unit, which I thought we were. I played on a lot of good offensive lines, but not any of them even close to as good as this past year.”
What highlight or award meant the most?
“The thing I’m most proud of is being named team captain. No offense to you guys, the awards that come from your teammates, that means the most. That means they voted on it, you earned their respect. I’m not saying I’m not grateful for all the awards I received. I’m just saying it’s special to get awards from your teammates.”
– Unlike his teammates Warmack and Fluker, it seems likely Jones will be around on the second day, perhaps even into the third round. He’s not a particularly great athlete but he gets by on intelligence and toughness. Should the Rams lose Robert Turner to free agency, Jones could be an intriguing prospect in the third round or so.
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