The technical difference between 37 and 28 is nine, and theoretically the distance between being a first- or second-round NFL Draft pick is substantial.
But per most draft experts, those distinctions were a negligible blur when it came to the Chiefs on Friday plucking defensive lineman Chris Jones of Mississippi State with a pick they traded down for.
If you don’t believe that, take it from the mirthful 6-foot-6, 310-pound Jones.
In a highly entertaining teleconference, he suggested J.J. Watt’s monstrous game was a legitimate model to which he could aspire.
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“The sky’s the limit for me,” Jones said, later obliging a request for a scouting report of himself: “Very dominant player. Has ability to be a Pro (Bowl player) … Needs to work on a few things …
“Could be one of the best of all-time. It’s up to him.”
Lest he be misconstrued, Jones said all this with a certain joviality that implied a wink as he spoke.
As with any draft pick, only time will tell how much he realizes the abundant potential that comes with an asterisk about inconsistency and after an NFL Combine performance best-remembered for his, uh, wardrobe malfunction during a 40-yard dash that flashed more than just his talent.
“You know what – big men should never wear Spandex,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said, laughing.
His progress will be just part of the ultimate evaluation of the Chiefs’ maneuver Thursday to acquire the 49ers second-, fourth- and sixth-round picks for Kansas City’s first- and seventh-rounders — which took yet another labyrinthine twist Friday when the Chiefs dealt their original second-round pick to Tampa Bay for third- and fourth-round picks.
That third-round pick later became KeiVarae Russell, a cornerback from Notre Dame who missed the 2014 season and 2014-2015 academic year because of plagiarism.
In a teleconference of an entirely opposite tone from that of Jones’, Russell wept either repeatedly or almost constantly — apparently because of a combination of a sense of redemption for the mistakes he said he’d made, the ensuing “darkness” and the notion of changing the circumstances of his life.
So while we wait to see how these picks plays out, hey, at least this much seems evident: Each will bring some serious passion to this.
Unless he succumbs to the Chiefs’ tendency to try to sterilize spontaneity in their players — contrary to coach Andy Reid’s call for them to show it in their play — Jones in particular will carry some refreshing personality with whatever he can contribute on the field.
“He’s a pistol,” Reid said.
The selection of Jones came not a minute too soon for him after what he called a “nerve-wracking” Thursday night stranded on the board when he had expected to be snapped up.
“I had three years in college, I have no degree and I’m unemployed,” he said, laughing. “So I’m ready to get on a team, man, ready to get on a team.”
Jones is known for athleticism, including what he termed having been a “slick and slithering” high school basketball player. His official Mississippi State bio, in fact, says he won five varsity letters in the sport.
That couldn’t be confirmed Friday night, but whatever the case …
“I was a heck of a basketball player, too,” Jones said. “Let me just state that.”
It’s conceivable, now, that Jones is prone to exaggeration.
Asked about his hometown of Houston, Miss., for instance, he reckoned the population was “probably” about 10,000.
In fact, as of the 2010 census, the population was 3,623.
Still, you can’t quibble with his own stream-of-consciousness impressions of the town he grew up in with an appetite of “a newborn horse,” his mother, Mary Woodhouse, once told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
“You’ve got a prison,” he said. “McDonald’s is the biggest store around. They get all the business. Hardee’s is the next biggest place. We’ve got one grocery store. It’s a monopoly.
“It’s not that big. Everybody knows everybody. The men are jealous, and the woman are in competition.”
Now he’ll be the one in competition to validate both the trade and a pick the Chiefs trumpet as being just the same as a No. 1.
“If we had picked him at 28, we’d have been very pleased to pick him at 28,” Dorsey said. “... But we felt after analyzing that board, if we were to go back a little bit there was still a high probability we could acquire that player and (as) luck had it, we acquired the player and got some picks.”