Blog Entry

Throwing their Hats into the Ring

Posted on: August 11, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 2:16 pm

League sources have told that two additional names have been named eligible for the Supplemental Draft to be held August 17th.

The NFL notified teams yesterday that former Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones and former Lindenwood University/Allen Wranglers' (IFL) defensive end Keenan Mace are eligible for the summer event, making the total number of potential draftees four after Georgia running back Caleb King and Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson were approved for the event earlier this week.

There is no word yet on the eligibilty of former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (who left OSU due to the "Tattoo Five" scandal) or North Carolina defensive lineman Michael McAdoo (UNC's academic scandal).

Jones had a break-out junior campaign in 2010, garnering first-team All-SoCon honors after picking off seven passes -- four coming in one game against Gardner-Webb (to go along with 12 solo tackles). A bit more slight than teams prefer at the position (175 pounds), larger receivers will have advantage over him in the run game and on downfield throws. He is not contact-shy, however, as he does not mind involving himself in run support, inserting himself into piles, and is a fair open-field tackler.

Jones flashes an ability to close on passes quickly, though his average speed will make it more difficult to stay with NFL receivers. His ability to reach throws to make the interceptions will be severely tested by the velocity of passes at the next level. Defenses relying on zone schemes could see him as a potential reserve/special teams contributor if he proves adept on coverage units.

The 6-foot-4, 313-pound Mace started seven of the team's 11 games at defensive tackle in 2010, making 24 tackles, five for loss and a sack to earn third-team all-conference honors. He also recovered three fumbles on the year. He did not play in 2008 or 2009, however, after a solid freshman performance (24 tackles, four for loss, 0.5 sack) because he had family responsibilities.

Mace played for the Allen (TX) Wranglers in the Indoor Football League this spring, where he had 43 tackles, including six sacks. He was signed by the Dallas Cowboys for a few days at the start of camp before releasing him August 2nd.  

At Lindenwood, Mace flashed nice athleticism and nimble feet, chasing more plays east-west than expected at his size (Dallas' thought that he would fit as a 3-4 five-technique makes sense). His strength and quickness allowed him to push back and get around NAIA-caliber guards and centers into the backfield. Obviously he lacks experience, both in general terms and against a high level of competition, so he'll need to amp up his hand usage and prove his change of direction ability to make the transition in the NFL.
Overall, it seems unlikely a team would pick Jones or Mace in next week's supplemental draft -- especially considering the lack of time either would have to make an impression in their shortened training camps.

But both have enough potential to get abbreviated looks in camp after the draft and wind up on practice squads if performing up to snuff.

UPDATE: According to Howard Balzer of The Sports XChange, the Cowboys' contract with Mace was not approved by the league because he did not meet eligibility requirements. Thus, he was required to enter the supplemental draft to make his dream of playing in the NFL come true.

--Contributed by Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

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