METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans lost one former Nebraska offensive lineman this offseason when Carl Nicks left in free agency.
But they picked up another in the seventh round (pick No. 234) of the 2012 NFL Draft, selecting 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive tackle Marcel Jones.
For Jones, Nicks, a sixth-round pick in 2008, provides a perfect example of his long-term goal – come to New Orleans and show that other teams were wrong in passing him up.
“It’s pretty ironic that Carl got drafted there in the sixth round and ended up earning a spot and earning some playing time,” Jones said. “He’s off to a great, great career because he’s a great offensive lineman. Now I’ve got the same opportunity and I’m trying to take advantage of it.”
Jones earned multiple honors for off-the-field work, including the team’s citizenship award three straight years and the Big 12 academic honor roll six times.
He started the first 11 games in 2009 as a sophomore before an ankle injury stymied his progress. And while he didn’t play in the first 10 games his junior year because of a back injury, he played in the final four at right tackle. He started the final eight games of 2011 at left tackle.
He’s dead set on showing that he’s past any injuries that may have befallen him in the past.
“This year I’ve been healthy throughout the whole season, going into the season and everything,” Jones said. “Hopefully I tried to dispel some of those things about being injury-prone. I tried to silence some of those critics with the way I played and the way I finished my senior year.”