The New England Patriots' 2001 draft class produced two of the team's all-time great: In round one, the franchise selected defensive tackle Richard Seymour; in round two, offensive tackle and 2018 Patriots Hall of Fame enshrinee Matt Light. The eight other players picked by the team that year, however, are lesser known. One of them is offensive tackle Kenyatta Jones, who passed away on Saturday.
Jones began his career in his hometown of Gainesville, Flordia. After high school, he opted to stay at home and attend the University of South Florida which had just started a football program. Jones was a member of the school's inaugural roster and went on to play four seasons for the Bulls. Following his college career, he became USF's first ever draft pick: the Patriots took him with the 96th overall selection in 2001.
The fourth-round selection saw irregular playing time during his rookie year and appeared in only five games – all during the regular season. Jones nevertheless earned a Super Bowl ring. Individually speaking, his second season in the NFL was his most successful: Jones established himself as New England's top option at right tackle and started a total of 11 games throughout the year.
However, his career took a turn for the worse in 2003. Jones, who started the season on the Patriots' physically unable to perform list, was cut in October. Five days before his release, he was arrested for allegedly dousing his assistant with scalding water. Jones continued his career with the Washington Redskins before moving on to the Arena Football League.
Jones died over the weekend while in Colorado. According to his mother, the 39-year old died of cardiac arrest.