Despite already drafting a cornerback in the previous round, the New England Patriots went back to the position group with their first selection on Day 3: with the 121st overall pick in the fourth round, they added Arizona State cornerback Jack Jones to their defensive backfield.
Based on his draft status, Jones should be considered safe to make New England’s roster this season. So, let’s take a closer look at what he brings to the table.
Name: Jack Jones
School: Arizona State (RS-Senior)
Opening day age: 24
Size: 5106, 171 lbs, 30 3/4 arm, 74 wingspan, 8 7/8 hand
Measurements: 4.52 40-yard dash, 35” vertical jump, 10’4” broad jump, 4.13 short shuttle, 6.9 3-cone, 11 bench press
Career: A five-star recruit out of high school, Jones started his college career at USC and by his sophomore campaign had established himself as the Trojans’ best cornerback. However, his career started to take a turn for the worse in 2018. He missed spring practices due to academic reasons and was later arrested for allegedly breaking into a Panda Express. Jones eventually was ruled academically ineligible for the upcoming season, left USC, served 45 days of house arrest for commercial burglary, and reemerged at Arizona State after a one-year stint at Moorpark College during which he focused on school and did not play football.
Jones spent spent the final three years of his college career at ASU, appearing in 25 games with nine starts. He recorded six interceptions and 19 pass deflections over that span and was named an honorable All-Pac 12 mention; he led the Sun Devils in picks in both 2019 and 2021. However, he also was suspended for one game in 2020 for fighting during practice.
Strengths: Jones is a talented press-man cornerback who combines the functional athleticism and physical edge to make life hard for opposing pass catchers. He has some good ball skills and production and is a willing run defender.
Weaknesses: Jones is undersized and wins more with effort rather than any elite athletic traits or a refined technique. He also is a risk-taker who goes for the big play too often rather than the safe one. He is on the older side and comes with plenty of off-field questions.
What is his projected role in New England? Jones has plenty of experience in man coverage schemes, and has proven his abilities as a press-man defender. He primarily aligned on the perimeter during his time at USC and Arizona State and the expectation is that he will fill a similar role in New England’s defense.
Where does he fit on the cornerback depth chart? With the exception of Jalen Mills, the Patriots’ current cornerback group does not feature a clear-cut starting option on the outside. Jones taking over a prominent role therefore appears to be within reach, even though it seems more likely that he will serve as a package-specific nickel and dime defender rather than an every-down defender early on in his career.
Does he have positional versatility? Jones projects primarily on the outside of the defensive formation. His short-area quickness — he ran a 6.9-second three-cone drill at his pro day — helps in case he moves into the slot on select downs, but his overall versatility is limited compared to other players in the Patriots’ secondary.
What is his special teams value? Jones was a four-unit special teamer during his time at USC and also found success in the game’s third phase while at Arizona state. He returned only six punts in three seasons for an average of 3.8 yards per runback, but earned considerable experience as a coverage player. Furthermore, he blocked a field goal attempt as a redshirt senior in 2021.
One-sentence verdict: His off-field history may be concerning, but Jones landed in the right spot to help him stay on course and reach his potential.
How would you grade the Patriots’ selection of CB Jack Jones at No. 121?
This poll is closed