Former Hurricanes WR Khalil Jones Switches To Safety At Packers Camp
Former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Khalil Jones signed with the Green Bay Packers in December to play the position of wide receiver, now the Packers will be switching him to safety.
“He’s got a lot of football in him,” Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said. “He’s got really good size, good strength and he can run fast. The pro (personnel) guys worked him out after practice as a defensive back and thought there was something there.”
Jones, who never really flourished as a receiver at University of Miami, had no problem with the switch.
“Actually, the night before they told me, I had prayed for it to happen,” Jones said last month. “I didn’t tell anybody, but for like all of 2009 I was thinking about playing safety.”
When Jones, 24, was a junior for the Hurricanes, the possibility of playing both safety and receiver was broached. Jones declined because “I wanted to be good (at) at least one thing,” he said.
Going to safety wasn’t brought up again until Jones was signed to the Packers’ practice squad. Assistant director of pro personnel Eliot Wolf, who has developed a niche trying to find players in unconventional ways, sent Jones a text asking him if he had ever played safety.
“No, but I’m sure I can play it,” Jones replied.
“I feel more natural playing it than I did receiver,” Jones said. “And I’m telling you – this is the truth – when I have dreams of being an NFL player, I always dreamed of myself playing safety in the Super Bowl.”
It’s not hard to see why Wolf and others in the organization, including director of football operations Reggie McKenzie, wanted to see what Jones could do at safety. He’s got all the measurables: 6-foot, 1-inch, 220 pounds, speed in the high 4.3s, bench press of 345 pounds, 500-pound squat, and power clean of 325 (a Miami receiver record).
“They probably saw my physique and my speed and I guess my ability because even when I was on the practice squad I was learning a lot and they liked my range and my size and definitely my athleticism,” Jones said. “I’ve been 220 all through college, so I have the prototypical body and size of a safety. I always have. It’s the best fit for me as far as longevity and growth.”
Jones has devoured the playbook with safeties coach Darren Perry.