Teammates Raving About Chris Jones' Upside After First Day in Pads

Jones impressed in his first day in pads at the NFL level

If you're coming to Kansas City Chiefs training camp and you happen to love football, there's no better drill to watch on either of the Mosaic Life Care Fields than the OL-DL one-on-one drills. 

That's the offensive line against the defensive line (and outside linebackers), and it always takes place on the east field near the end zone closest to the stands.

It's where the biggest and baddest go at it in the trenches, and Monday morning marked the first opportunity for these guys to put on the pads and get after it.

It also meant the first opportunity for rookie defensive lineman Chris Jones to show his teammates that the athletic ability he was showing in shorts and shells would translate when they got after it for real and the pads were popping.

"I was excited," Jones explained after practice on Monday. "I had butterflies and I haven't had butterflies in a long time. It was a great experience—my first time being in pads in the NFL."

Jones, who played collegiately at Mississippi State, was the team's first pick in the NFL Draft last spring, which came in the second round at No. 37 overall.

The 6-foot-6, 310-pound athlete was considered the "steal of the draft" by some experts, and he did nothing on Monday to dissuade the opinions that he has tremendous potential.

"We need three or four guys that we can rotate in so we won't have to play all of the spots," veteran Jaye Howard explained. "So [Jones] coming out there today and playing well showed everybody that he belongs here."

During one-on-one drills, Jones had at least three reps that he performed well on and "won" the rep. Two showed off his power and one displayed some athleticism.

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All that aside, Jones will be the first to tell you he's not going to hang his hat on just a few plays.

"There's still a lot of things I have to improve, some of the smaller details," Jones explained. "On the day overall, I think I did OK. It's all about showing myself that I can compete on this level.

"I'm just going to continue working my tail off."

After practice, head coach Andy Reid said it wasn't just during the one-on-ones that Jones impressed.

"He did some good things in the team periods," Reid added. "He's a big man that's got skill and he's long. He's got great arm length and good athletic ability. Does he have to learn? Does he have to continue to get stronger throughout the season?

"Yeah, that's how it works for the young guys."

Photo highlights of Chris Jones

The most important thing for Jones is to keep listening to his coaches and teammates, and so far, he's done that and it's helped him perform like he did on Monday.

"He listens," Howard added of Jones. "We coach him up in there and it actually translates on the field."

When it comes to the one-on-one drills, when Jones gets to line up across from guys like second-year center Mitch Morse, the respect is already coming.

"He's got an incredible upside," Morse explained. "I think his length and his natural ability to understand leverage and how his body works and how to defend the offensive guys, it's uncanny for where he is right now. It's exciting to see.

"He's a great kid, and we're really excited to have him on our team."

Jones, Morse, Howard and company take the field again on Tuesday morning for the second day of training camp in pads, and performing consistently well moving forward will be Jones' next challenge.

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