Maurice Jones-Drew is Not a Question Mark
I bet it was filled with hollering and high-fives galore. Jones-Drew, a second-round steal, was chosen 60th overall in 2006.
All 32 NFL teams passed on the 5-foot-7 running back out of UCLA. Everyone knows that’s why he proudly wears No. 32.
Since that Saturday in April, Jones-Drew, in three seasons, has been an outstanding workhorse. In 47 career games, the 24-year-old has compiled 6,003 total yards (receiving, rushing, kickoff and punt returns).
It boggles the mind to read that five running backs were picked before Jones-Drew. They are the highly-touted Reggie Bush, Laurence Maroney, DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai and LenDale White.
Out of those five backs, Jones-Drew has been more dynamic (returning kickoffs and punts), has played more games and has earned more total yards.
And, to be fair, Jones-Drew averages 127.72 total yards per game. The next closest running back from those five is Reggie Bush at 95.97.
Jones-Drew has proven that he truly was a second-round steal. In addition to his yards, he has 40 touchdowns, the most out of the fivesome. Addai, with 30, is second behind Jones-Drew.
With all his impressive statistics, MJD deserved a rewarding pay raise, which he received in mid-April. The contract was signed for five years and $31 million.
The obvious pay increase didn’t seem to change Jones-Drew. After the deal was signed, at his press conference, he said, “I’m going to play the same way I’ve played.”
For the organization and its fans, everyone hopes he continues to play the same. However, if the first preseason game is any indication, then Jones-Drew won’t be a primary tool in the kickoff or punt return game.
Without those extra duties and the offseason loss of veteran Fred Taylor, Jones-Drew becomes the Jaguars’ primary ball carrier.
In preparation, he used the offseason to get back to his college playing weight of 208. Jones-Drew said he played last year “at 212 and 215.”
An improved diet of fish and vegetables along with vigorous mid-day workouts helped his get into better shape.
The naysayers keep Jones-Drew focused on becoming a better player and teammate. Whether it’s the other 31 NFL teams or sports talk radio hosts, he feeds off of the so-called question marks.
During his contract extension press conference, Jones-Drew stated he is willing to do what the coaches ask him to do. Whether it is to run the ball or block 300 times, he will be there.
He’ll attempt to erase any question marks with his first regular-season carry against the Indianapolis Colts.
And, as the starting back, Jones-Drew can expect to run the ball nearly 300 times. The most carries he’s had was 197 last season.
Reaching 300 carries takes a toll on a running back’s body. In 2008, only five eclipsed 300. They were Matt Forte, Ryan Grant, Adrian Peterson, Clinton Portis and Michael Turner. Three of the five (Peterson, Portis and Turner) were NFC Pro Bowlers.
Having proven himself every year, Jones-Drew also brings national media attention with his success.
When I picked up USA Today’s Special Edition Fantasy Football publication last week, Jones-Drew graced the cover.
Now, I am aware this is fantasy football, but Jones-Drew was ranked as the NFL’s No. 3 running back by USA Today. It was written that he is “poised for a brilliant breakout season.” An extra incentive for Jaguar fans to pack Jacksonville Municipal Stadium while wearing their No. 32 jerseys.
Jones-Drew is an NFL star who can turn the Jaguars back into a winning team. During mini-camp, he stated that, “we got to take it one game at a time and the sky’s the limit for us.”
I agree. The sky is the limit for the Jaguars because they have Maurice Jones-Drew, who is not a question mark, but Superman.