Photo: UConn Athletics
It took much longer than many people expected, but UConn defensive lineman Travis Jones was selected with the 76th pick in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday night.
Jones really “arrived” at the Reese’s Senior Bowl practices. Now, the former Husky is a Raven and should in perfectly with the franchise’s tough mentality. Jones talked with the local Maryland/D.C. media moments after the selection.
“The emotion was crazy,” he said. “Growing up, always having this dream as a kid, finally having it come through, it was a big deal for me and my family. Throughout the process I came up on a 30 visit, I really liked it up there and I’m happy they picked me.”
Jones was asked if he was surprised that he fell like he did, considering he was a consensus top-40 pick for nearly every “expert” out there.
“Nah, I really wasn’t even worried about that,” he said. “I’m just happy I got picked up by the right team, the right fit, for right now.” Jones should fit in just nicely as a guy who can create problems inside while also making life miserable for a quarterback.
“I feel like the first thing I’m going to do is stop the run first, then I’ve got the ability to get to the quarterback, so I feel like I’m pretty versatile. I can play the nose, out to a five I feel like,” he added. Jones was actually recruited as a guard coming out of high school, but when he went to UConn, departures forced the staff to have him make the switch.
It turned out pretty well.
“All my offers coming out of high school was for guard, but when I went to UConn they said they were going to switch me over because somebody left for the draft,” he explained. “They put me there to fill that void and it worked out pretty good for me.”
One of the more consistent defensive linemen over the last decade has been Calais Campbell. Jones is now teammates with the veteran and had already watched quite a bit of his film. If Baltimore has another Campbell on their hands then it’s an all-time selection, which very well could be the case one day.
“I’d say I watched more Calais Campbell,” he said when asked about joining Derek Wolfe, Campbell and Michael Pierece. “Big, a little taller than me, but I feel like we’ve got similar play styles. both have long arms and play aggressive.”
Jones was at home with family when he got the call. Now, he’s got a lot of extended Connecticut family who will be watching and rooting for his success with the Ravens from afar this season.