Marcus Jones’ terrific rookie season for the Patriots earned him one of the NFL’s highest honors.
New England’s triple-threat cornerback was voted to the Associated Press All-Pro first team as a punt returner after leading the league in punt-return yards (362) and ranking second in punt-return average (12.5) in his first pro season.
The final tally was not close, with Jones receiving 47 of the 50 first-place votes.
Jones, who starred in all three phases for the Patriots, became the first NFL player since Deion Sanders to score a touchdown on defense, offense and special teams. His 84-yard game-winning punt-return score against the New York Jets was one of the standout plays of New England’s season.
The diminutive third-round draft pick played a total of 370 snaps on defense, 164 on special teams and 18 on offense and should be an integral part of New England’s future plans.
“Marcus is always in the right spot at the right time, and he makes the correct plays,” Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon said late in the season. “I don’t think you can ask more from a guy, but every week we do, and he delivers.”
Jones was the only Patriots player to make first- or second-team All-Pro. Judon built a strong case, but voters selected San Francisco’s Nick Bosa and Dallas’ Micah Parsons to the first team and Cleveland’s Myles Garrett and Philadelphia’s Haason Reddick to the second.
Judon finished sixth in voting behind those top four and Las Vegas’ Maxx Crosby. Right guard Mike Onwenu was the Patriots’ highest All-Pro finisher outside of Jones, ranking third behind Dallas’ Zack Martin and Atlanta’s Chris Lindstrom. Safeties Kyle Dugger and Devin McCourty and special teamers Matthew Slater and Brenden Schooler also received votes, and Jones got one as a kick returner.
The Patriots have boasted the first-team All-Pro punt returner in two of the last three seasons, with Gunner Olszewski receiving that same honor in 2020. New England has not had an All-Pro on offense or defense since 2019, when cornerback Stephon Gilmore made the first team and guard Joe Thuney earned second-team honors.