Many would argue the Patriots spent most of the 2022 NFL Draft reaching for players rather than finding value relative to each slot.
But if you ask a certain longtime league scout, at least one of New England’s picks this past April was an act of thievery.
TJ McCreight is a very big fan of Jack Jones, who the Patriots selected at 121st overall (fourth round). McCreight seems to believe the cornerback out of Arizona State can be a real difference-maker for Bill Belichick’s team.
“Outstanding instincts and eyes,” McCreight said of Jones on the “Ross Tucker Football Podcast,” as transcribed by ESPN. “A tremendous feel for routes, and outstanding ball skills and hands.
“He has the physical ability. He’s big enough (5-foot-10 6/8). He’s fast enough. You see him do some little things. He’s blocked punts in high school. He’s blocked kicks in his career.
“He has ball production; he can catch. He had a pick-six (vs. Arizona), heaved the ball into the stands. He’s got some moxie. … To me, that was a steal because he’s going to get coached well in New England now. And you have a guy who is a playmaker.”
Jones’ size and skill set suggest he’ll be best served as a slot corner at the NFL level. The 24-year-old might be more on the project side for the Patriots rather than a Day 1 impact player, but Belichick and company clearly see something in Jones.