As a whole, the New England Patriots’ 2022 season was a disappointment. The team went just 8-9, missed the playoffs, and struggled mightily on both offense and special teams.
That said, there were quite a few positives as well. Near the top of that list was the performance of third-round rookie Marcus Jones.
The 85th overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Houston, Jones made his presence felt right away. Playing a combined 552 snaps over all three phases of the game, he scored touchdowns on offense, defense and in the kicking game. His special teams contributions eventually earned him first-team All-Pro honors.
Jones was a dynamic playmaker for the Patriots his rookie campaign, in large part because he was able to adapt quickly to life in the NFL.
“The main thing was just making sure that I know what was going on in the system. Just making sure I was taking one day at a time. Just making sure knowing what to do on defense, special teams, or offense — wherever I was needed to be to help the team,” Jones said during a recent appearance on the Jim Rome Show.
The biggest lesson to help him make the jump from the college level to the NFL, meanwhile, was one preached repeatedly by head coach Bill Belichick and the team’s veteran leaders.
“Taking everything day by day,” Jones said. “There’s going to be ups and downs, so basically — to tack on consistency as well — it was taking everything day by day and go one play at a time. And whenever a play comes, there’s going to be plays where you don’t have it your way. But scratch that off your mind and move on to the next play.”
Jones’ first year as a pro was a successful one from an individual perspective.
Seeing action in 15 games, he finished with four receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown, had three takeaways — including one pick-six — and also was the league’s most prolific punt returner. He averaged a league-leading 12.5 yards on his 29 punt returns and scored the game-winning touchdown in Week 11 against the New York Jets.
But while his contributions to the team were manifold, Jones’ primary focus moving forward lies on his listed position: cornerback.
“I like to be on defense, DB,” he pointed out. “Whether that’s in the slot or outside, that’s the main thing I play my role in. I’m a defensive back first.”
That said, Jones is of an open mind as far as other roles are concerned.
“However I can help the team after that, offense or special teams, then I’m cool with that as well.”