INDIANAPOLIS — Between his time at the Senior Bowl, his experience here at the NFL Scouting Combine and his various workouts, Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones will probably speak formally or informally with all 32 NFL teams during the predraft process.
Jones conceded, though, that the possibility of playing for his hometown team carries a little more significance. The 5-foot-10, 196-pound cornerback and return specialist is a Baltimore native and former multisport star at Gilman.
"It would be a dream come true, just going out there and putting on that purple and representing the city," Jones said Saturday from the scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. "It would be a great feeling."
NFL Network's Mike Mayock ranks Jones as the fifth-best cornerback in the draft and the three-year starter at Alabama projects as a mid-round pick. Jones certainly makes sense for the Ravens, who have a definite need at corner (both in the slot and on the outside), and also could benefit from adding more explosiveness to their return game.
The pairing would be just fine to Jones, who said that he'd relish an opportunity to return home and make an impact on the field and in the community.
"It's probably the thing that shaped me the most out of anything in my life, just coming from that type of environment, seeing some of the things and hearing some of the things. You want to do better," Jones said. "You want to be a role model for young kids with the same kinds of aspirations and dreams that you have. I was fortunate. I had both my mom and dad in my life. A lot of kids in Baltimore aren't blessed with that. I use that to my advantage and just kept the right people around me and stay focused. I think that's what got me here today."
Jones joins Oklahoma defensive end/outside linebacker Charles Tapper and Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller as the Baltimore natives taking part in this week's combine.
"Without Baltimore, I feel like a lot of this is impossible; all the positive role model men that have been in my life, Baltimore City College, the high school, helping me get to the University of Oklahoma," Tapper said Saturday. "I give so much of my life to Baltimore."