- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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A decade ago, Suggs ran slower than expected in the 40-yard dash, which caused him to fall from a top-five prospect to No. 10 to the Ravens. Jones, the Georgia outside linebacker who is a potential draft target for the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, could suffer the same fate.
Their situations are similar. In 2003, Suggs dropped down to 257 pounds for his pro day and still ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.8s. On Thursday, the 246-pound Jones was clocked at a plodding 4.92 seconds at a cold and blustery day in Athens, Ga.
If there is a lesson to be learned from this, it's that the 40-yard dash isn't a barometer for pass-rush success in the NFL. Suggs is a five-time Pro Bowl player and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.
I remember Ravens officials were pleased by Suggs' slow 40 times because it increased the chances of him falling to them. Then-coach Brian Billick put it in perspective when he said defenders never have to run 40 yards to sack a quarterback.
No one knows if Jones' ragged pro day will cause him to drop to the Steelers at No. 17, but Thursday's performance didn't help Jones' stock. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was among those who attended Georgia's pro day. The Browns, who have been linked to Jones in the past, might not have him as high on their list after signing Paul Kruger in free agency.
The other concern with Jones is a medical issue. There have been reports that Jones has stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that could shorten his NFL career.
"I know what I need to know and I know what people are telling me," Jones said. "I'm cleared, I'm healthy, and I think I had a good day today. It's a done deal now."