The Patriots traded both of their first two scheduled picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, moving down in Round 1 and up in Round 2. But, in Round 3, New England stayed at No. 85, selecting Houston cornerback Marcus Jones.
After spending the first two years of his collegiate career at Troy, Jones transferred to Houston and developed into one of the better cornerback prospects in the country. He also is a skilled returner, returning two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns last season.
On defense, Jones racked up 36 tackles while picking off five passes for the Cougars in 2021.
Oh, and Jones might have some upside as a receiver. He caught 10 balls for 109 yards and one touchdown last season.
In his massive NFL draft guide, Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranked Jones ninth among all corners. New England, of course, has a need at cornerback following the departure of J.C. Jackson, who signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason.
Here’s what NFL Media draft expert Lance Zierlein wrote of Jones:
Projects as a twitchy, undersized slot cornerback with playmaking traits and game-changing return talent. Jones has the hips and feet to cover slippery slot receivers and the ballhawking instincts to make plays from zone. He can be too reliant on his athletic ability. He needs to play with better discipline and route anticipation as a pro. He can be mismatched against size but he’s plenty scrappy in those battles. Jones’ lack of size will hurt him with some teams while others will elevate his grade thanks to his electric ability on special teams. There could be teams that look to give him reps at receiver, where he would have more big-play opportunities.
Jones stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 174 pounds.