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ATHENS, Ga. -- Although he posted pedestrian numbers at Georgia's pro day Thursday, Jarvis Jones insists he was pleased with his first official workout before NFL scouts."I felt like I had a great day at the end of the day," said Jones, who ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. recently tabbed as the No. 5 overall prospect in the upcoming draft. "I did what I had to do."
Jones turned down a chance to participate in workouts at last month's scouting combine -- held indoors at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium -- so Thursday's blistering winds and mid-30s temperatures were not ideal conditions to make a solid first impression.
Possibly the most scrutinized prospect in the 2013 draft pool, Jones ran the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds and leaped 30.5 inches in the vertical jump and 9 feet, 3 inches in the broad jump. He completed 20 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press -- a total that would have tied for 16th among linebackers at the combine.
"I could have done a lot of things better, but at the end of the day, I went out there and I competed," said Jones, who led the nation in sacks (14.5), tackles for a loss (24.5) and forced fumbles (seven) in 2012. "I had fun."
"Fun" would probably not be the word Jones would use to describe the last several months, when reports surfaced that his draft stock was slipping over concerns about his health.
Jones suffered a stinger as a freshman at USC in 2009, when an MRI revealed he has a narrow spinal canal. He skipped the combine workouts -- apparently irritating some around the NFL -- after spending much of his pre-combine preparation time visiting doctors who could evaluate whether the condition might shorten his professional career."It's crazy," Jones said of a whirlwind couple of months since the season ended. "But at the end of the day, I don't care because I can only control what I can control. That's taking care of me, bettering myself.
"I know what I need to know and I know what people are telling me. I'm cleared, I'm healthy, and I think I had a good day today. It's a done deal now."
Representatives from all 32 NFL teams -- including at least three head coaches (Atlanta's Mike Smith, Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and the New York Jets' Rex Ryan) -- arrived in Athens to watch Jones and 16 former Georgia teammates at the pro day.
Jones will have plenty of opportunities over the next month to meet with more teams. He said he met with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday and listed Kansas City, Philadelphia and Detroit as teams he plans to meet with in the near future.