The long haul to the spotlight of a football field in a matter of days for some. For others, it’s a matter of months. For still others, it takes years. But for the LA Rams running back Xavier Jones, it’s taken an indomitable will, crossing innumerable barriers, and remaining confident that he can do the job. You have to see it to be it. Somewhere in the back of his mind, I hope Jones sees himself among the NFL’s leading rushers.
He is entering his second season, but due to the cancellation of all preseason games in 2020, he never had the chance to compete against another NFL team. He will have his first true taste of the NFL when he puts on his pads to run for the team in the Saturday preseason game against the LA Chargers. One more challenge to overcome. One more barrier to knockdown. One more wall to scale.
By almost every aspect, second-year running back Xavier Jones should not be here in a position to run in the NFL, let alone run for the LA Rams, home to some of the greatest running backs in the game. Yet here he is, as we thought he would be. We were one of the few sites to believe in this young man’s potential. But we didn’t really convince many of his promising upside potentials those 18 months ago.
He’s earned this opportunity
He was the top scorer in NCAA football in 2019. That didn’t earn him an invitation to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. It didn’t earn him the honor of hearing his name called out at the 2020 NFL Draft. And after signing as an undrafted rookie with the LA Rams, it most certainly did not guarantee him a spot on the team’s roster. But he overcame each setback and challenge. No training camp? No preseason games? It ended the NFL careers of many undrafted rookies before they even started.
Xavier Jones simply progressed. He caught the attention of head coach Sean McVay. He also caught the attention of All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald. That was a year ago. Over the past year, he trained and practiced on the Rams roster, preparing for the day that he would be carrying the ball just like another former LA Rams running back from SMU, Eric Dickerson.
This is preseason coming up. This will be the backups on the offensive line, at quarterback, all over the field for the LA Rams. But make no mistake. This is the start of Xavier Jones’s career carrying the football for the LA Rams. This is where the Rams offense gets exciting, or X-citing if you were.
Cam Akers is out for the season. Darrell Henderson has been dinged up twice already. The LA Rams may depend on Xavier Jones in the running game far more than anyone can predict. But it will be okay folks. He was the top scorer in the NCAA. Oh, and he has the approval of both Coach McVay and Aaron Donald.