Naz Jones isn’t a quarterback. In fact, he doesn’t even play offense. But the North Carolina defensive tackle knows that his college quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, has what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
“Besides just being an amazing athlete at the quarterback position – he can throw it, he can run, he can do whatever, he takes command in the huddle – more than that, he’s just an amazing teammate,” Jones said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He’s a great guy to have in the locker room. He takes control of the team. He’s the kind of guy that you want on your team. Whether it’s on the field or off the field, I think he’s one of the best guys in this draft and just an all-around good guy to me.”
Jones said that Trubisky is a natural leader.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Jones said. “I never played quarterback, but I know when I talk to my defense, if I’m in there quiet and I really don’t know what I’m talking about, then they’re not going to listen to me. Just like Mitch is quarterbacking the offense, I’ll be quarterbacking the defense the same way. I definitely think it correlates, but you definitely got to have that leadership mentality. He has a personal knack for it. I think he’s just born to play quarterback.”
And Jones, it seems, is born to play defensive tackle. He had 62 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and three pass breakups during the 2016 regular season.
Aside from dominating on the gridiron, Jones also found time to start a non-profit called MADE Man Mentoring, which pairs underprivileged children with college students.
“I had a mentor growing up since sixth grade, and he passed away last February,” Jones said. “After that, it was pretty hard for me because he was like the father figure in my life. But really, I made this program in honor of him just because I know how big of an impact he had on my life. I just kind of wanted to pass that same impact on to the generation after me.”
Many athletes shy away from taking stands or being role models. Jones isn’t one of them.
“Being athletes, we are on this national platform, and you know there’s tons of kids that look up to us and our teams,” he said. “So really, I’m just using that as the background of my non-profit. These kids look up to us. They see us on TV doing things. If they hear us telling them to do positive things, to be good members of society, to do well in school, maybe they’ll listen a little bit more, even though their parents are telling them the same thing. But just hearing it from us probably gives them a different point of view.”