UConn’s Byron Jones could go in the first round of the NFL draft

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NEW YORK — The NFL draft heads to Chicago this year with the potential top overall choice, Jameis Winston, not planning to be on hand.

But if the New Orleans Saints stay put with pick 31 in the first round, obtained from the Seattle Seahawks, they're predicted to stick with a defensive philosophy and tag a brilliant athlete who has risen up the draft boards this offseason: cornerback Byron Jones of Uconn.

The New Britain native is expected to be the first Connecticut native selected in the first round since Dwight Freeney in 2002.

Jones' athleticism was on display back in February when he set an NFL combine record, and what is also believed to be a world record, broad jump of 12-feet, 3-inches.

On the field, Jones is not only athletic, but also versatile, playing both safety and cornerback at UConn.

He reportedly met with the New England Patriots in March.