FOXBORO, Mass. — Jonathan Jones knows the best way to carve out a role on the New England Patriots’ roster as an undrafted free agent: special teams.
The former Auburn cornerback detailed his extensive work on special teams Thursday in his first meeting with the New England media. The 5-foot-9, 186-pound defensive back said he worked on kickoffs, punt coverage, punt returns and as a gunner during his time at Auburn. He certainly has the speed to get down the field quickly after running a blazing 4.33-second 40-yard dash the NFL Scouting Combine, good for third-best among all participants in the event. And that wasn’t even the fastest he’s been timed.
“Yeah, I’ve gone below 4.3, but I’m excited to use that here on the field,” Jones said.
Jones’ specialty is his straight-line speed and explosion, measuring 36 inches in the vertical jump and 10 feet, 3 inches in the broad jump. His agility times were below average at 7.25-seconds in the 3-cone and 4.25-seconds in the short shuttle, which matters less in special-teams coverage.
Brandon King, who’s bigger than Jones but made the team as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn last summer, similarly had blazing speed and impressive explosion but subpar agility and was an immediate standout in special teams.
“Good guy,” Jones said about King. “I saw a guy like him make his way onto this team through special teams and find a way onto the roster.”
Jones was projected to be selected as high as the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, so the third day of the draft was long and arduous. But it worked out in the end.
“I think the draft is kind of a stressful process for everybody, but I think at the end of the day it’s about you finding the team and a team finding you and you finding the best fit for you,” Jones said. “I think my decision to come here was a great decision. It’s a great organization from top down and I’m happy to be here.”
Thumbnail photo via Thumbnail photo via Doug Kyed/NESN