Former Nebraska football star Chris Jones' rookie season in the NFL was nothing to write home about. Other than the fact that he spent the entire season on an NFL roster.

Jones signed with the Detroit Lions shortly after last year's draft but failed to stick on the roster there. This season could be a different story.

The Cardinals are struggling to figure out how their defensive backfield is going to look when the regular season kicks off.

That's because All-Pro starter Patrick Peterson is going to miss the first six games.

The NFL handed down a suspension a few weeks ago and it doesn't appear any kind of appeal is going to get him off the hook. One writer, Jim Koch of Raising Arizona believes that Jones might be able to step into the breach.

Chris Jones getting his shot

Koch isn't coming up with the former Nebraska football player's name out of thin air.

Arizona's new head coach Kliff Kingsbury has mentioned the second-year player is going to get a shot.

That's not to say that it isn't a long shot. The Cardinals drafted a corner in the second round of this year's draft.

Byron Murphy is likely the man the Cardinals would like to see take the job. Him sliding into that role gives the team quite a bit of depth when Peterson gets back in week seven.

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Tramaine Brock, a free agent signee this offseason is another candidate that is likely in line just behind Murphy. Brock has been in the NFL for 10 years now.

Still, Jones has been talked about more than once as someone who could steal the job.

The Cardinals clearly believe Jones has the talent to compete for a job in the NFL. After the Lions released him last fall, Arizona wasted little time going after the Nebraska football product.

He eventually suited up for two games at the end of the season but didn't record any stats. He's looking to improve quite a bit on those numbers. He appears to have impressed his new head coach with his work ethic over the offseason.

He Jones impressed Kingsbury enough that he brought him up as a replacement for Peterson unbidden. If he can continue to impress in fall camp, it seems the door is open.

Taking a chance

Chris Jones' story at Nebraska is one of unrealized potential. There was a time he was considered one of the best cornerbacks in college football. After a 2016 season when he racked up 37 tackles and three interceptions, he's been an All-American candidate. An injury, before 2017, derailed all of that. He appeared in just four games, recording seven tackles.

His draft stock dropped precipitously as well.

One has to wonder if 2019 might be the season where he's really, truly healthy. Nebraska football fans might have another NFL team to root for if he's able to win the starting job, even if he will lose it when Patrick Peterson is back.

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