Patriots Draft Rumors: Pats Hosting QB/Wideout, Versatile DB For Visits

New England is taking a closer look at two multitalented prospects


Apr 4, 2022

The New England Patriots’ schedule of pre-draft prospect visits is beginning to take shape.

The Patriots plan to host Miami quarterback D’Eriq King and Houston defensive back Marcus Jones for top-30 visits, according to reports over the weekend from Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson.

This isn’t the Patriots’ first contact with King. He also privately worked out for New England offensive assistant Joe Judge, per Wilson’s report.

The Patriots don’t have a need at quarterback after selecting Mac Jones in the first round last year but could look to add a developmental prospect at the position either late in this year’s draft or in undrafted free agency. And QB might not be King’s long-term position anyway.

Lacking ideal signal-caller size at 5-foot-9, 196 pounds, many draft analysts have projected a potential move to slot receiver for the athletic King, who split his time between QB and wideout early in his college career.

Across six total seasons at Houston and Miami — two of which, including his 2021 campaign, were cut short by injuries — King threw for 8,378 yards and 76 touchdowns with 19 interceptions, rushed 423 times for 2,055 yards and 32 touchdowns and caught 61 passes for 520 yards and three scores. He also returned kicks and punts as a freshman in 2016 and is considered a high-IQ player with strong leadership traits.

King participated in both quarterback and receiver drills at the NFL Scouting Combine. It’s unclear how the Patriots view him — Judge’s positional focus has yet to be revealed — but they’ve long valued players with versatile skillsets.

Jones is a 5-8, 174-pound slot corner who had five interceptions and 13 passes defended in his final season at Houston. He also was a wildly productive return man, with NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein calling him a “shop-wrecking special-teams talent” with similarities to Kansas City Chiefs standout Dante Hall.

In a four-year collegiate career split between Troy and Houston, Jones scored nine return touchdowns (six on kickoffs, three on punts), averaging 28.4 yards per kickoff return and 14.0 yards per punt return. The Patriots lost their primary punt/kick returner from the past two seasons when Gunner Olszewski signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers last month, though veteran newcomer Jabrill Peppers is a candidate to fill one or both of those roles.

Jones also saw action as a receiver in 2021, catching 10 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown and winning the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the “most versatile player in college football.” Again, the Patriots’ love of multipositional talents is well-documented.

Jones, who would address New England’s need for more defensive slot depth behind Jonathan Jones, is recovering from surgery on both of his shoulders but expects to be full-go in time for training camp.

The 2022 NFL Draft is set to begin Thursday, April 28.

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images
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