If you have followed football at all over the last 5-10 years, you likely have heard the name Cardale Jones. The former NFL, and XFL QB, had grown somewhat of a cult following after his college career at Ohio State University. Despite playing in a total of just 23 games over three seasons Ohio State fans loved Cardale for helping them to 3 straight bowl games during his career.
At 6’5 240 lbs, Jones is a stout QB, who is known for his ability to take off and run when needed. Jones may not be the kind of athlete that a Josh Allen is, but he is still mobile none the less. In three seasons Jones racked up just 269 passing attempts in 23 games, or about 12 passing attempts per game he appeared in. However Jones was not always the starter for OSU.
He would in fact have to compete with two other well know OSU quarterbacks for playing time. JT Barrett, and Braxton Miller. Granted during his senior year Miller made the move to wide receiver full time paving the way for Cardale to take more snaps in 2015. After the season both Miller, and Jones declared for the NFL draft.
With Jones, and Miller entering the NFL draft, the starting job was handed to Jt Barrett. OSU would watch as both men were selected in the NFL draft on day 2. Braxton Miller was drafted as a wide receiver by the Houston Texans in round 3, and Jones was drafted in round 4 by the Buffalo Bills as a quarterback.
At the time the Bills had Tyrod Taylor as a starter, who had essentially beaten out former first round pick Ej Manuel. However the Bills no longer believed Manuel was their future, and selected Jones with the thought of developing him behind Taylor.
With Jones, and Miller entering the NFL draft, the starting job was handed to Jt Barrett. OSU would watch as both men were selected in the NFL draft on day 2. Braxton Miller was drafted as a wide receiver by the Houston Texans in round 3, and Jones was drafted in round 4 by the Buffalo Bills as a quarterback. At the time the Bills had Tyrod Taylor as a starter, who had essentially beaten out former first round pick Ej Manuel.
However the Bills no longer believed Manuel was their future, and selected Jones with the thought of developing him behind Taylor. In the Final game of his rookie season he entered the game in place of Ej Manuel who had been benched. He completed 6 of 11 passes for 0 tds and 1 int.
After a turbulent season that saw Rex Ryan fired mid season, Anthony Lynn finished the season as the head coach. Lynn must have liked what he saw in Jones. Upon receiving the head coaching position with the Los Angeles Chargers, Lynn helped facilitate a trade to acquire Jones.
However despite this he would never appear in a regular season game for the Chargers. He would finish the 2017 season on the active roster, but not see a single snap.
Heading into the 2018 season Jones was released and brought back on the practice squad with the thought being he had more work to do to develop as a passer at the NFL level. He would remain on the practice squad for the entire year, signing a futures deal to return to the team in 2019. This didn’t come to fruition as he was released during final cuts.
Eight days later Jones landed on Seattle’s practice squad, but lasted just under two weeks with the Seahawks before being released. Luckily for him the XFL was gearing up for it’s 2020 launch and was beginning to allocate players to their teams. It was October 15th, 2019 when Cardale was announced as a member of the DC Defenders. He was pitted against former Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson in a competition for the starting job which Jones won.
Jones started off hot, winning his first 2 games as a starter in 2020, and had a budding connection with receivers Eli Rogers, and Rashad Ross. Despite this Jones went on a 4 game stretch in which he threw 2 tds to 7 ints, and watched his yards per attempt fall each game. Ironically despite my respect for Pep Hamilton I believe he put Jones in a less than ideal scheme for his skill set. Albeit Hamilton has a lot of experience with mobile quarterbacks it seemed he was hesitant to really run Jones like he should have.
By the time the XFL folded in 2020, Tyree Jackson proved to be the more efficient of the two quarterbacks. Jackson would find his way back into the NFL, this time as a tight end, while Jones would obtain just one work out with the Las Vegas Raiders in August of 2020, but would never land a contract. Since then Jones has all but fallen off the map of professional football. As far as I can tell he has not signed anywhere, ultimately sitting out for nearly 2 full seasons.
Now we hear Jones’s name once again popping up. Recently his alma matter Ohio State University held their pro day, and Jones was not only in attendance to spectate. Jones would end up throwing in the work out to NFL bound wideouts Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave. He was said to have looked crisp, and at his best during the work-out, although these work-outs are always hard to gauge. Although I will point out that Jones couldn’t have picked a better year to work out at the pro-day. Wilson and Olave are both regarded as first round picks in the 2022 NFL draft.
What better way to put yourself back on the map than work out in front of a large contingent of NFL, and also XFL scouts or coaches. While I think Jones understands he is likely a long shot to make it back to the NFL in 2022, is no secret that the XFL is looking for players to add to their 2023 pool already. Much like back in October of 2019 when Jones was added to the DC Defenders roster, the XFL is doing advanced scouting for their 2023 season which could end up being to Jones’s benefit. This is where I believe his aim lies.
Jones is the type of alpha male that is not out to ride the bench if he can avoid it which is why I believe he is seeking a job once again on the spring football circuit. I am not sure what led to his name not being among the USFL draft picks, or if he was even a part of the USFL draft pool. However I do know that he isn’t out there throwing to receivers simply to help the school. The school already had current starter Cj Stroud who is expected to declare for the NFL draft next season there to throw passes to his former receivers. Now the question remains, will we see Cardale Jones on the field again, in pursuit of another championship to add to his collection from college?
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