Football

Small-school prospect Jonathan Owens wants to be a big hit in the NFL

Missouri Western's Jonathan Owens believes he belongs in the NFL and is training at the APEC in Fort Worth to try to get there.
Missouri Western's Jonathan Owens believes he belongs in the NFL and is training at the APEC in Fort Worth to try to get there. MWSU Athletics

One in a series previewing the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Jonathan Owens likes to make those big hits.

And because he knows it’s something you get fined for at the next level, the former Missouri Western defensive back is working at APEC on speed and making the body adjustments needed to play in the NFL.

Owens is one of a large group of NFL prospects working out of APEC in Fort Worth as the NFL Draft approaches. The NFL Draft is April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“I know it costs you money, but I love the feeling you get when you hit somebody and make plays,” he said. “Coming from a small school, I really wondered if I’d be here and when my agent called, he said go down to Texas and train because he felt like I had some talent that could make me some money.”

To say it’s a long shot is without question. But Owens made the most of his career at Missouri Western, earning second-team all-conference honors his senior year after getting just 19 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup. He played limited time due to an injury in the final five games of the season.

“Coming from a D-II school, you always feel like your opportunities are limited,” Owens said. “But when I got down here, I’m lifting the same weight these guys are and I had the highest vertical of the group at 43 inches so that just gave me the confidence to know I belong.”

Owens was a stalwart for Western, having recorded some 60 tackles, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles his junior year and starting all 11 games. He had 84 tackles from his safety spot as a sophomore.

Speed seems to be his biggest question mark.

“They want me working on my 40 right now so they know that I have the speed at the next level,” he said. “I feel like my biggest strength is my mental ability to handle the playbook and I can make an adjustment to any system.

“To me, football’s about being in the right position because sometimes you make a play without actually being involved. Because you were in the right position, a guy might cut back into somebody else and so it’s about knowing where you are on the field and executing.”

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