The New England Patriots entered the 2022 NFL Draft with a major need at the cornerback position. They finally addressed it in the third round, adding Houston’s Marcus Jones with the 85th overall selection.
Jones certainly is an exciting player. He is an impressive athlete who played in all three phases at Houston and Troy, has plenty of experience as a man cover cornerback, and was one of the most electric kick returners in this year’s draft.
That said, there is a reason why he was available in the third round. Not only is he just 5-foot-8, 174 pounds, he also has a noteworthy injury history.
2017 (Troy): A true freshman, Jones was shaken up on a punt return versus South Alabama. He did walk off under his own power, though, and did not miss any playing time due to the injury.
2018 (Troy): Jones’ second career game versus South Alabama again saw him suffer an injury. He made a leaping interception in the October contest but hurt his collarbone in the process of doing so. Jones was forced to sit out the Trojans’ next two games.
Jones was shaken up twice in the Dollar General Bowl versus Buffalo. He stayed on the ground after catching a slant pass, but walked off under his own power. He later appeared to hurt his foot on an end-around run.
2020 (Houston): After sitting out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Jones appeared in one game for the Cougars before a surprise absence versus BYU a week later. Apparently, Jones was dealing with a minor injury.
Houston’s final game of the 2020 season — the New Mexico Bowl versus Hawaii — saw him suffer a right leg injury on a 23-yard punt return. Jones did eventually return to the game, but saw only limited action in his team’s 28-14 loss.
2021 (Houston): Jones missed two practices in September because of a hamstring injury. He did not miss any in-game action due to the issue, though.
Jones had to be helped off the field against South Florida with what was later announced to be a leg injury. He was not kept on the sidelines for long, however, and returned to the action just a few minutes later.
Houston’s bowl game versus Auburn did not see Jones take the field. The redshirt sophomore decided to skip his final college game with an eye on his pre-draft preparation.
Jones underwent surgery on both his shoulders after the season to address an issue that has plagued him going all the way back to 2018. As a result, he was unable to participate in the Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine and his pro day.
What it means for the Patriots
As opposed to the Patriots’ first two selections in this year’s draft — Cole Strange and Tyquan Thornton — Jones enters the league with some questions about his durability. His shoulders in particular were an issue during his college career, even though he missed just two games because of the nagging ailment.
Of course, New England’s medical evaluation did not raise any red flags or else the team would not have drafted him. Still, his availability is worth keeping an eye on with the team set to kick off its rookie minicamp and organized team activities later this month.
How would you grade the Patriots’ selection of CB Marcus Jones at No. 85?
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