Saturday was a sad day for any football fan. Those who have never heard of Sidney Jones merely have to look up his name and find out what happened. Bad luck. Cruel, unabashed twist of unfortunate fate. The Washington Huskies cornerback was getting ready to begin his NFL career this season. That road just got a lot tougher.
According to Yahoo Sports NFL writer Eric Edholm, Sidney Jones tore his Achilles Heel running a drill at Washington’s Pro Day at the Huskies’ training facility in Seattle. Jones was back peddling and as he broke out of his stance to turn and run, his lower leg gave way and he awkwardly fell to the turf. Some teammates and coaches walked over to the player to help him up and supported him as he trudged over to the sideline.
Jones was part of the best secondary in the Pac-12 last season. A 6-foot tall cornerback weighing just under 190 pounds, Jones had eight career interceptions and six forced fumbles in his Washington career. A total ballhawk in the air, his body of work at Washington and the consistency with which he played covering the best receivers in the conference likely would have ensured Sidney Jones of a late first round grade in the upcoming NFL Draft.
An injury as serious and as challenging to recover from as the one Sidney Jones suffered calls into question just how much NFL prospects are required to go through between their final collegiate games and the day of the draft. Are these young prospects overworked, for no reason?
One agent to me on CB Sidney Jones carted off during #Washington Pro day: "All these workouts have to stop before the draft."
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 11, 2017
Unlike the NFL Combine, Pro Days offer a sense of comfort for prospects. Scouts are in attendance, but there is familiarity and a stronger support system present at a Pro Day than at the combine. At Pro Days, players perform drills and lift weights in the same facilities they’ve been practicing at for years. More of their teammates and assistant coaches are there than at the combine. Still, these are the same drills these players just ran last week at the Combine in front of the same NFL teams scrutinizing their every move.
At one point does it become too much? At what point does watching a player run the same drill over and over again outweigh the body of work performed on the football field, in the heat of battle when it matters most?
Injuries are rare in situations like this at the NFL Combine and during Pro Days. A vast majority of players go through the process healthy. When a freak injury does happen though like the one to Sidney Jones- an injury likely to derail his career before it even gets started- NFL scouts have to wonder if maybe they are putting these players through unnecessary extra work.
Michael Berns is Editor in Chief of Endzonescore.com. He also contributes to college football writing: particularly covering the Illinois Fighting Illini and all things BigTen. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter –@MichaelBerms.