ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. likes the versatility of Alabama All-America center Barrett Jones but isn’t listing him as a first-round choice for this year’s NFL draft.
“Obviously he has the injury to deal with. He’s in the second-round discussion,” Kiper said this morning in an ESPN conference call.
Kiper listed Jones as a third- or fourth-round possibility in a November conference call with reporters.
Kiper ranks Jones as the No. 2 center nationally behind Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick. Jones had surgery after the BCS National Championship Game to repair torn ligaments in his foot and will miss most pre-draft workouts.
Jones also played guard and tackle at Alabama: “Jones can played anywhere you want on the offensive line,” Kiper said.
Kiper lists Alabama’s D.J. Fluker as the “top guy at right tackle.”
The question surrounding Fluker before the season concerned his pass-protection abilities, but Kiper said Fluker answered that.
“I thought in pass protection this year did a great job,” he said. “I thought he held up a lot better in pass protection than I thought he would.”
As for Alabama guard Chance Warmack, Kiper said it’s possible he could go as high as sixth to Cleveland or seventh to Arizona. The last time Alabama had a guard go that high in the draft was John Hannah, an All-Pro who went fourth in 1973 to New England.
Kiper has Tide cornerback Dee Milliner going fourth to the Philadelphia Eagles, calling him the “elite corner” in the draft.