April 15, 2000
By HAL BOCK
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Running back Thomas Jones earned his psychology degree in
three years at the University of Virginia and then stuck around to break school
records for all-purpose yards (2,195), single-season rushing (1,908), and
career rushing (4,108).
So while other top NFL prospects sipped soft drinks at a predraft luncheon,
Jones displayed his priority, carrying a football under his arm, just in case
some team was watching.
And if they had overlooked him - unlikely - Jones provided a scouting report
"Quick. Strong. Catches the ball well. Blocks well. Durable. Smart."
Then he paused. "That's what I'd say about myself," he said. "I watch
films. I try to be perfect on every play."
The Arizona Cardinals watched too and made Jones the seventh pick of the
Even though he seems a bit undersized at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, Jones was
picked ahead of bigger guys like Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, who went to
the New York Giants with the 11th pick.
"I feel I'm a good back," Jones said. "There are a lot of good backs in
the draft. To be the first one taken wouldn't be a bad thing, either."
He was the second running back to go. The first player chosen was Penn State
defensive end Courtney Brown, picked by the Cleveland Browns.
That left Brown's college teammate, linebacker LaVar Arrington and tackle
Chris Samuels of Alabama for the Washington Redskins, who had the second and
Then Cincinnati picked wide receiver Peter Warrick of Florida State and
Baltimore picked running back Jamal Lewis of Tennessee, surprising some people
who thought Jones would be the first running back to go.
Philadelphia went for Florida State defensive tackle Corey Simon with the
sixth pick before Arizona took Jones.
Before the draft, Arrington was asked how he thought the first round would
evolve. The linebacker, who is described by some scouts as the next Lawrence
"You never know what's going to happen," he said. "I might know, but I'm
Warrick, once considered a likely No. 1, slipped because of a scrape with
the law in his last season at Florida State. He was arrested after paying
$21.40 for $412.38 worth of clothing in a department store, was suspended for
two games and placed on probation after a plea bargain.
There also were some lackluster times in the 40-yard dash.
"People are judging me by what I did," Warrick said. "It was something
that happened. What I did was wrong, but I'm a better person than that. Don't
judge me by what I did. I can't please everybody. I can't be what somebody else
wants. I can only be myself."