Barrett Jones says he's healthiest he's been since NFL arrival

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- For the first time since his arrival in the NFL in 2013, St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Barrett Jones is fully healthy.

Whether it was recovering from a foot injury as a rookie or back surgery last year, Jones has never been able to offer much to the Rams because he's spent more time in the training room than on the practice field. All of those ailments have been enough to limit Jones to 10 games and just 22 offensive snaps in two seasons after a decorated college career.

What's worse, they've kept Jones from having full offseasons to work out and add the muscle the Rams believe he needs to hold up on the line. So Jones had a simple goal this offseason.

"I definitely wanted to be 100 percent," Jones said. "When I had back surgery last year, I wasn’t able to work out for a long time, so I wanted to put a lot more muscle on. I feel really good about where my body is make up wise and getting to work out a whole offseason healthy and that was one of my goals, to pack on more muscle and lean up a little bit. I think I’ve leaned up a little bit."

Jones does look like he's added some lean muscle, though he said he doesn't have any numbers on how much weight he's lost or what his body fat percentage is now.

"I don’t know," Jones said. "I’m not a science guy. Us big guys, we’re still not anxious for body fat tests. When we’re in good shape, it’s more like 20 (percent) so it’s not the same."

This offseason also hasn't been the same for Jones, but in a good way. The former two-time All American, three-time national champion and Outland Trophy winner said he has no lingering issues from any of his previous injuries and has been able to consistently stay in the weight room.

The timing of that health couldn't be better for Jones, who is also in position to win a starting job for the first time since he arrived. The Rams released center Scott Wells in March, and Jones is one of three players competing to win that job. Rams coach Jeff Fisher has made it clear that the mental aspect of the offense will be a primary factor in determining a winner, which is good news for Jones, who is considered one of the most intelligent linemen on the roster.

But staying mentally sharp has never been much of a concern for Jones. In that regard, he's ready. It all comes down to whether he's strong enough to hold up against some of the brute-force defensive linemen he'll see, especially in the rugged NFC West division.

Although it's just his third season, Jones is well aware that this is his best chance to prove he belongs.

"It's definitely a big year," Jones said. "It's a performance-based league obviously, and this is a year I have got to perform well. I know that and I'm here working hard. At the same time, I try not to worry too much about the big picture. I think you can kind of get consumed with that thinking about 'Oh no, doing the numbers, how many guys are going to make the team?' I don't think that’s really healthy. I think you just need to come in and work really hard every day and just kind of focus on that. Hopefully at the end of the day, the rest will take care of itself."