Ben Jones, one of Georgia’s most valuable offensive linemen of the Mark Richt era, went to the Houston Texans in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
The Texans picked Jones with the 99th overall pick Saturday in the draft -- which he discovered while watching with about 30 family members at his aunt's home in Bibb County, Ala.
"They love those undersized, scrappy zone centers," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said of the Texans. "Ben Jones from Georgia occasionally gets overextended, but this is one of the scrappiest, smartest players I’ve seen on tape. He takes great angles, the kid understands the game and leverage. The more he has to move sometimes at the second level, the more his lack of athletic ability hurts him. But this kid gets the game of football."
Jones became the second center selected in the draft, following only Wisconsin’s Peter Konz, who went in the second round to the Atlanta Falcons.
Jones said Houston's offensive scheme is "very similar" to the system employed at Georgia, particularly with the zone blocking schemes used to clear space for tailbacks Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
"We ran a lot of inside and outside zone so I think I can come in and try to do whatever I can to help the team out," Jones said.
Jones played in every game of his Georgia career and started 49 times. He was unquestionably one of the Bulldogs’ leaders last fall when they won 10 consecutive games and claimed Georgia’s first SEC East title since 2005. After the season, he was named permanent team captain and won a host of additional team awards.
"He’s a guy that takes control and command of the offensive line," said LSU coach Les Miles, who is working with the NFL Network as a draft analyst. "He lets them know what’s going on, makes all the calls. I felt like he was tremendously competitive in tight spots. In their season, he played bigger. I certainly understand the pick."
He was also a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, appeared in the Senior Bowl and was named a first-team All-American by ESPN.com, among other media groups.
"He is ready to play in the NFL and has exactly the skill set you want in a center," ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said.
The 6-foot-2, 303-pound Jones joins a Texans club that won the AFC South last season with a 10-6 record.