The wait was longer than expected for California wide receiver Marvin Jones, but after being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, his focus is on what comes next.
“There’s lots of times where people expect to go high and something happens to where you get picked lower,” Jones said Saturday in a conference call. “I don’t even want to relish on that. I just want to relish the fact I am in the league, going to a team that I can come in and compete early.”
“The Bengals, they are obviously a team on the rise. It’s just a great situation.”
Regarded as a second day selection after strong performances at the Senior Bowl and combine, Jones had to wait until the 31st pick in the fifth round, 166th overall, to have his name called.
“I definitely thought I was going to go higher, maybe the second round,” he said. “It happened, it was a roller coaster. My emotions went up and down, but ultimately I’m just happy with the Bengals and ready to start this journey.”
Jones should compete immediately for a starting job opposite A.J. Green, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie after catching 65 passes for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 191-pounder has experience in that role, playing alongside a potential first-round pick in Keenan Allen for two seasons.
“I’ve experienced both sides,” Jones said. “I’ve experienced being a No. 1 for a little while and I have experienced being a No. 2. Regardless of where I’m at, I know I can be a big contributor. Whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my abilities.”
The Bengals did not have much contact with Jones through the draft process, but knew they were a possibility. That was confirmed once he received the call from the Bengals head coach.
“His name is Marvin Lewis and my name is Marvin Lewis Jones. Maybe it’s destiny,” he said.
Two other Golden Bears were drafted, bringing the total to six this weekend, the second-best total in school history.
Safety D.J. Campbell is headed to the Carolina Panthers with the ninth pick in the seventh round, while defensive end Trevor Guyton went three spots later to the Minnesota Vikings.
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and covers the Pac-12 for Fox Sports/Scout.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.