Andre Jones Jr. was sitting in his car with his iPad watching Day 3 of the NFL Draft. There were about 15 people with him at his draft party, but he needed a minute away from all the excitement.
"I was sitting there waiting," Jones said. "I'm like, 'Ok. Alright. I'm going to get a call sooner or later. Just have to wait."
Jones had already done plenty of waiting; he had watched 232 picks roll by on the screen by the time head coach Ron Rivera called to let him know he was being taken by the Washington Commanders with the No. 233 overall selection. That's when all the emotions started to pour out.
As a seventh-round pick, nothing is guaranteed for Jones. He will likely need to climb from the bottom of the depth chart to earn a roster spot, let alone a larger role on the team.
He's more than willing to put in the work.
"Anywhere they need me, I'm very versatile," Jones said. "You can put me inside, put me outside. I bring the energy everywhere I go at any position."
Jones has shown he at least has the talent to carve out a spot on the roster. A six-year contributor for the Ragin' Cajuns, Jones played in 65 games with 39 starts and 209 tackles. Over the last two seasons, he also saw a massive jump in his sack production, bringing down quarterbacks 13.5 times in 26 starts.
When asked about the source of such an increase -- he had just four sacks in the previous four games – Jones credited it to improvements in his hands, pad level and confidence.
"I'm pretty confident when I rush," Jones said. "I think that's the best thing you have is confidence in getting off the ball fast and having a plan. Just know like nobody can stop you and really nobody can stop me."
Jones was drafted as an edge rusher by the Commanders, but technically, he was listed as a linebacker for the Rajin' Cajuns. It was at that position that he earned Second and Third Team All-Sun Belt selections in 2022 and 2021, respectively, posting a combined 111 tackles, six pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in that span.
But the position change doesn't bother Jones. Actually, he prefers to be where he can inflict the most damage on offenses.
"Set the edge, go get the quarterback," Jones said. "That's what I do best. I could drop and do everything. Like I told you, I'm versatile, but me going forward is the best thing."
Regardless of where Jones, 24, plays, whether it's closer to the line of scrimmage, special teams or in coverage, general manager Martin Mayhew sees "a lot of upside, a lot of developmental potential despite his age."
"We're looking forward to working with him. I mean, he's got a lot of athleticism," Mayhew said. "He's got a great first step, he's got a lot of traits that you want. And he has some tools, and our coaches can develop those tools."
Check out some of the top photos from Andre Jones' college career at Louisiana.
And that kind of potential has Rivera excited to get Jones on the field.
"We've gotta find a role for him and, in talking with Jack \[Del Rio\] and seeing how positive our defensive coaches were about his potential as a play maker," Rivera said.
Jones understands the gravity of his situation. The Commanders could have taken any number of players, but they chose to give him a chance instead.
No matter what kind of role he ends up having as a rookie, he doesn't intend to waste his opportunity.
"It's a lifelong dream man," Jones said. "That's all I was waiting on, and that's all I need: opportunity. I'm glad they gave me the chance."