Commentary

Mel's Personnel Points: Tiger safety net

An LSU safety, a Stanford RB, a Alabama CB, an Oregon TE and others on the rise

Updated: September 28, 2009, 6:15 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN.com

A very promising freshman year in 2007 had everyone close to the LSU program believing that safety Chad Jones could end up with a pro grade similar to that of former Tiger LaRon Landry. Along with his terrific physical tools, Jones also has a knack for coming up with big plays. I was surprised to see him fail to carry that momentum into his sophomore season.

Getty ImagesChad Jones is starting to regain his standing as a potential Sunday safety.

The issue was inconsistency. He was up and down in 2008. Bottom line -- Jones definitely had something to prove entering this season. While he may never reach the level of Landry, the 6-foot-2, 219-pound junior gave everyone a glimpse of his talent in the fourth quarter versus Mississippi State on Saturday.

Along with returning a punt 93 yards for a touchdown, he was a key contributor late in the game with the Bulldogs on the Tigers' 1-yard line and looking to score the go-ahead touchdown. He knocked down a pass on third down and assisted on a tackle on fourth down to help preserve the victory. Now what Jones needs to show is that Saturday was not an aberration but rather a harbinger of things to come. A testament to just how gifted he is athletically can be found in the fact that after playing in the outfield for the eventual national champion Tigers, he was moved to the bullpen (a role he had not been in since high school) upon his return from spring football and did not allow a hit in his three appearances in the College World Series. You think the Philadelphia Phillies might have interest in this guy in the future?

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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst