Redskins

Jones, Te'o, 2 of college football's good guys

201301030941349113645-p2.jpeg

Jones, Te'o, 2 of college football's good guys

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) Alabama center Barrett Jones was hobbling toward the plane, awkwardly clutching crutches and a bag when a helping hand reached out.

``Here, let me get this for you,'' said Manti Te'o, Notre Dame's star linebacker.

Just a show of good manners from one of college football's best to another as they started an awards circuit that took them from New York to Houston to Orlando. And now they'll meet again, even farther south in the BCS championship Monday.

Jones and Te'o are the most acclaimed players on teams with national honors galore, and their upbeat personalities give college football just what it needs right now - an image boost - after being hit wave upon wave of scandal from State College, Pa., to Miami over the past couple of years.

Both players could be drawing sizable NFL paychecks right now, but they opted to stick around for their senior seasons and wrap up degrees. It's no coincidence that their teams have wound up here playing for a national title.

Te'o's answer Thursday to why he stuck around was telling. Representing Notre Dame, his native Hawaii and his teammates is ``one of the biggest pleasures and honors that I get.''

``And to just be an example to (Hawaiians) of somebody who made that leap of faith to leave the rock just for a few years and to find comfort in knowing that Hawaii will always be there,'' said Te'o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up. ``You can do a good amount of service to the state by sacrificing a few years away from home to help live your dream, and by you helping to live your dream, you help other people's dreams seem that much more real.''

It almost sounds too good to be true.

But teammates, coaches, friends and even acquaintances insist Jones and Te'o are just what they seem: good guys with strong faiths who work hard on and off the field.

They're not just Boy Scouts, though. OK, Te'o actually is an Eagle Scout.

He's also a rugged player who overcame the loss of two loved ones this season. Jones looks like a 6-foot-5, 302-pound version of the kid next door with his boyish blond hair, but he also gutted out most of the Southeastern Conference championship with a sprained left foot.

Te'o has even been known to write poetry, reciting a sizable poem during a talk last summer at Honolulu's newly formed Downtown Athletic Club.

``It was really well done,'' said Bobby Curran, a Honolulu radio show host who was emcee for the event. ``When do you see vicious linebacker types reading poetry? The kid is so self-assured. He didn't have any hesitation. There was no awkwardness or embarrassment or any of that.''

Jones grew up learning the violin and memorizing dozens of Bible verses, and was a pretty darn good Scrabble player. He spends his spring breaks on mission trips overseas to places such as Haiti and Nicaragua.

Tide coach Nick Saban has called the lineman ``as fine a person as you're ever going to be around - me or you or anyone else - in terms of his willingness to serve other people.''

Like Te'o, he says and does the right things.

Without profanity. ``He's never cursed,'' insists Alabama tailback Eddie Lacy. ``Ever.''

Adds right tackle D.J. Fluker: ``There is not a dark side'' to Jones.

Their accomplishments almost have to be divided into on the field and off the field for brevity's sake.

Te'o is the first player to ever get a clean sweep of the following litany of awards: Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi, Bednarik, Maxwell, Lott and Walter Camp player of the year.

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said Te'o has responded to all that hardware by practicing harder than he had all season.

``For as talented a player he is, he's a better person,'' Diaco said, adding that his star defender is ``happy, full of life.''

``On a day where maybe as a coach you might be feeling a little down or maybe slightly distracted with the world's problems, Manti is easy to see, look at and see his face and immediately be energized,'' Diaco said. ``So that's just the kind of guy that he is.''

Te'o is an Academic All-American with a 3.324 GPA in design.

Te'o, a Mormon, showed his character when his girlfriend and grandmother both died within a few hours of each other. He had huge games against Michigan State and, the next week, against Michigan on the day his girlfriend was buried.

``Courageous, is one of the best words I can come up with to describe him,'' said Mickey Standiford, a member of the Mormon church in South Bend attended by Te'o, who is close with Standiford's family.

``To face those adversities and be able to still focus and have that determination, I think, to want to succeed for them. He wanted those games to be tributes to them. He didn't want it to be about him and the fact that he was out there doing it. It was more that he wanted to bring light to them. Courageous, determined, focused and just family is the most important thing to him.''

Jones won the Outland Trophy as a left tackle last season, the Rimington Award as the nation's top center in 2012 and the Campbell Trophy, the Heisman's academic equivalent.

He just finished graduate school in accounting.

``I just feel like I've been gifted with a mind that enjoys school and enjoys learning,'' Jones said. ``I wanted to leave with a master's degree. That was my goal the whole time.''

He made a strong impression on Rich Houston, director of Alabama's master of accountancy program. Houston taught Jones in advanced auditing in the fall of 2011, a discussion-heavy course that students call ``the current events class.''

``The class was at 8 in the morning,'' he said. ``He was always there, and he was the No. 1 participant in class in terms of both quantity and quality. And that includes having some fairly high-profile people in the accounting profession come into the class. He would ask great questions of those people, engage in conversation.

``Even if he wasn't an athlete, I'd be saying all the same things about him. Just what a really, genuinely good kid he is.''

Quick Links

2019 NFL Draft Big Board: Quinnen Williams, defensive prospects dominate the final top 100

bosa-standig-official.png
USA TODAY SPORTS

2019 NFL Draft Big Board: Quinnen Williams, defensive prospects dominate the final top 100

It’s the final countdown.

Here is the final NBC Sports Washington NFL Big Board for 2019. This ranking of the top 100 prospects in the NFL Draft comes from a combination of homework and NFL sources.

Before diving in, some notes…

*The Redskins met with Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. Tuesday, sources told yours truly and JP Finlay. Savage is one of the true risers in this class with a 20-40 draft projection. Teams eyeing the free safety include the Colts, Patriots, Chargers and Redskins, per sources.

Of those teams interested in Savage, only the Redskins’ current picks are outside of that 20-40 range. The key word there might be current.

Senior VP of Player Personnel Doug Williams told reporters Monday that there’s a “great possibility” of a trade down from 15 depending on which players remain on the board. The interest in Savage isn’t with the current pick, but if they move down.

*For all the quarterback talk, where the offensive line run begins could drive the first round.

While the Jaguars might select Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor seventh overall, the span to watch is 9-12. Offensive line ranks among needs for these four teams (Bills, Broncos, Bengals, Packers) and several prospects, including Alabama’ Jonah Williams and Oklahoma’s Cody Ford are worthy of consideration in this range.

However, OL isn’t the top priority for any of the four. My latest mock draft had all going with another position. The final debate will come down, in part, to whether the teams think they can address their line needs on Day 2.

The butterfly effect comes with teams selecting 15-23. The Redskins and Panthers (16) would surely focus elsewhere. The Vikings would still have a viable option in NC State center Garrett Bradbury, but the Seahawks (21), Ravens (22) and Texans (23) would probably move in other directions. This scenario also improves the chances that Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom and Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy go in the first.

Ford is considered the top guard prospect, making him an obvious option for the Redskins.

* Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat remains a top 10 prospect on this list, but that’s without a true understanding of his enlarged heart condition. According to a source familiar with the situation, some teams are comfortable with his situation while others removed the athletic freak from their draft board.

Not sure if we can infer there’s a potential slide coming with Sweat declining his invitation to attend the draft. My expectation is he remains in my final mock draft with the Panthers at 16 and Seahawks at 21 as the floor.

*If you missed it, I recently shared league thoughts on the passers. Not to get all indecisive, but at this point, I could see four selected by 17 or two sliding deep into round one. From a draft range perspective, Drew Lock’s feels the largest, stretching from 10 to 32.

*Using some Vegas prop bet lines for the first round, I’d go under on one running back and 2 1/2 wide receivers. Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown is the only receiver I feel good slotting into round one, but D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and N’Keal Harry won’t wait for long on Day 2.

*Make sure to check out the updated two-round NFL mock draft and our look at different 7-round, Redskins-only mock drafts. Paths onetwo and three are just a click away.

NBC Sports Washington’s final 2019 NFL Draft Big Board

1. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama                                          

2. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State                                      

3. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston                                           

4. Devin White, LB, LSU                               

5. Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky         

6. Montez Sweat, DE, Miss. St.                                                                                                 

7. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa                                       

8. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma                                 

9. Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan                                      

10. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson        

11. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida                                  

12. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama                                            

13. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson                          

14. Cody Ford, G/T, Oklahoma                                  

15. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Miss. State                       

16. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State                                       

17. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson                                                  

18. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington                                        

19. Brian Burns, DE, Florida State                                            

20. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU                                    

21. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia                                              

22. Andre Dillard, OT, Wash. State                                          

23. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma                                      

24. Johnathan Abram, S, Miss. St.                                            

25. Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame                              

26. Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State                                        

27. Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State                                            

28. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State  

29. Chris Lindstrom, G, BC                                          

30. Darnell Savage, S, Maryland                                                            

31. A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi                                 

32. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa                              

33. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi                                            

34. Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M                                  

35. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama                                  

36. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke                                      

37. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri                                          

38. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple                                      

39. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington    

40. Irv Smith, TE, Alabama                                         

41. Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington                                        

42. Nassir Adderley, FS, Delaware                                           

43. Chase Winovich, LB, Michigan                                           

44. Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State                                       

45. Jaylon Ferguson, DE, La. Tech                                           

46. L.J Collier, DE, TCU                                 

47. Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia                                     

48. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama                                  

49. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State                                        

50. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida                                           

51. Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State                                           

52. Oshane Ximines, DE, ODU                                   

53. Dre'Mont Jones, DE/DT, Ohio State                                 

54. Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State                                       

55. Connor McGovern, G, Penn State                                     

56. Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia                                    

57. Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame                              

58. Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State                                   

59. Gerald Willis, DT, Miami                                       

60. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama                                        

61. Ryan Finley, QB, NC State      

62. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson                                            

63. David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State                                 

64. Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis                                      

65. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford                                

66. Zach Allen, DE, Boston College                                          

67. Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB, Kentucky                                      

68. D'Andre Walker, LB, Georgia                                                      

69. Jachai Polite, LB, Florida                                      

70. Chuma Edoga, T, USC                                           

71. David Long, CB, Michigan                                    

72. Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State                                        

73. Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State                                     

74. Joe Jackson, DE, Miami                                        

75. Amani Hooker, S, Iowa                                         

76. Yodny Cajuste, T, West Virginia                                         

77. Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State                                

78. Chuma Edoga, T, USC                                           

79. David Long, CB, Michigan                                    

80. Greg Little, T, Mississippi                                     

81. Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M                                  

82. Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas                                

83. Damian Harris, RB, Alabama       

84. Michael Jordan, G, Ohio State                                           

85. Dawson Knox, TE, Mississippi                                            

86. David Edwards, T, Wisconsin                              

87. Andy Isabella, WR, Umass                                   

88. Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma                                      

89. Christian Miller, LB, Alabama                              

90. Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic                               

91. Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan                                                            

92. Nate Davis, G, Charlotte                                      

93. Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia                                        

94. Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford                              

95. Michael Deiter, G, Wisconsin                              

96. Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma                                   

97. Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri                                   

98. Marvell Tell, S, USC                                

99. Dionte Johnson, WR, Toledo         

100. Terrill Hanks, ILB, New Mexico State      

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

The Browns called the Redskins 15 years ago hoping to trade up for Sean Taylor, but the Redskins said 'no'

The Browns called the Redskins 15 years ago hoping to trade up for Sean Taylor, but the Redskins said 'no'

Thanks to his illustrious career at Miami, Sean Taylor caught the eyes of Joe Gibbs and the Redskins heading into the 2004 NFL Draft.

Not surprisingly, though, Washington wasn't the only franchise interested in adding a do-it-all, safety-in-a-linebacker's-body prospect to their defense.

In a terrific look-back at that draft from Sports Illustrated — a draft in which a record six Miami products went in the first 21 picks — you'll find this excerpt:

But at the last minute, the Browns, owners of the No. 7 pick, called asking to trade up. Butch Davis, Cleveland’s coach and EVP, had previously been the head coach at Miami and had recruited all six of these Hurricane prospects out of high school...

[Vinny] Cerrato says the Browns were coming for Taylor. Davis is more diplomatic about it: “It was probably about 60-40 that we would’ve taken Sean [over Winslow],” he says. He wanted to know what it’d cost to get Taylor. But Washington wasn’t budging. “There was no interest whatsoever,” Cerrato says. “We wanted Sean Taylor.”

Cleveland also reportedly contacted the Giants about their fourth overall selection so they could skip the 'Skins entirely, but New York ended up orchestrating their own deal to land Eli Manning.

Fortunately, the Burgundy and Gold stayed in place and got Taylor despite the calls. Often times, trading back in the draft is an attractive option. This time around, however, that option paled in comparison to the opportunity to acquire Taylor.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS