For our latest NFL Draft interview, we sat down with Purdue guard Jordan Roos, who brings a wealth of starting experience to the NFL.
One week before the NFL Draft, Jordan Roos is aware enough to know he’s unaware.
“I don’t think it’s all hit me yet,” the senior guard from Purdue says.
“You train for this your whole life and you try to stay as level-headed about everything as you can. Then, boom, all of a sudden, we’re a week away. I just don’t think it’s hit me, honestly.”
It’s an understandable sentiment given the tremendous focus and hard work Roos has put in to make this moment a reality. Every NFL hopeful at this point has put in the work in the weight room, in the classroom and on the field to make their dreams a reality, but few have been so determined for so long. Beyond college and high school, Roos got serious about his football future as far back as fifth grade.
“I was the waterboy on the sideline and I remember getting back in the truck with my dad,” says Roos. “I said, ‘Dad, I want to be a freshman on varsity when I get to high school.’ That was my main goal in fifth grade. He said, ‘Okay, we’ll go home and sit down and make some goals and that’s what we’ll chase after.’
“We made weight room goals, college goals—all these things were on an Excel sheet on my bedroom wall,” he continues. “I can honestly say we achieved all of those goals, and a huge part of that was my dad saying, ‘If you don’t write something down, it’s not a goal, it’s a dream.’ He’s a huge part of me getting to where I am today.”
If Roos sounds like a rooted, salt of the earth type of guy, it’s because he is. He does what he says. He says what he means. He sets his sights on something and does his best to make it happen. Perhaps the best example of Roos’ character and make-up can be found in his college selection, and how he stuck with Purdue, as a boy from Celina, Texas, even when others came calling.
“I didn’t have very many offers. I had probably 17 offers, and of those, the most interest was from Purdue. I didn’t know where it was. I thought it was an Ivy League school. I also thought “the University of” was in front of Purdue. That was a huge mistake,” he says with a laugh.
“Guys decommit this and this after going on a visit, but I’m a man of my word, so that’s where I stayed. Toward the end of my high school career, other teams came in and tried to get me to decommit, but that’s not the person I was raised to be. I made the agreement and stuck with it and I have no regrets about doing that. I started 43 games in the Big Ten.”
Roos says it was important to go where he “wasn’t going to be someone’s back-up” for years, and Purdue gave him every opportunity to play early and often. That level of experience is certainly one aspect of his game that stands out for NFL teams.
“You have so much game experience from starting 43 games in the Big Ten. On top of that, I started six games my freshman year. I don’t know what my number was up to, but it got up to 40 consecutive starts or so and 43 total. I think that shows that I’m durable, tough and have some grit.
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“We only won 9 games my whole career, so it was important for me to make sure that I’m still putting out good tape. In a third or fourth quarter, you can turn on the film and not be able to tell that we’re down by a lot of points—that’s a huge thing I like to hang my hat on. You can say, ‘No matter what the score is, Jordan Roos is giving it everything he’s got.'”
Despite the strong game tape and tremendous size (6-4, 301 lbs.), Roos is still a self-described “under-the-radar” prospect. However, he turned heads at Purdue’s pro day earlier this month by showcasing tremendous strength with 41 reps on the bench press, six more than any offensive lineman from the NFL Combine, along with solid speed and quickness in drills.
Most recently, Roos had a private visit with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. He described the experience as surreal and said everything seemed to go very well from his perspective.
“It was a good visit,” he says. “I got a chance to get up on the board and show my football IQ a bit and then had my medical and that was great. It shows I’m still healthy. Overall it was a great visit. It just adds to that surreal feeling that the NFL is right here and to have someone invest in you to come out to their club is a pretty cool deal.”
For now, Roos is doing what he’s always done: staying focused on the goal in front of him. Despite being passed over for the NFL Combine and any post-college bowl showcases, Roos says his agent, Buddy Baker, has been instrumental in helping him keep his head up, playing the same sort of paternal role Roos needed to get to this point.
“You see it and it’s frustrating but you can’t control it. You have your little pity party for a day and then you get over it and go back to work, and that’s what I’ve done. It’s like playing football. You can’t get too high and you can’t get too low. You just have to stay in that even place. You can be excited about it, but you don’t want to get yourself too excited either. I’ll just approach those three days of the draft as I have the whole training process and enjoy it whenever I find out where I’ll be.”