Patriots hit the cornerback lottery yet again with savvy Jack Jones pick

The New England Patriots are great at picking talent that flies under the radar, and they’ve proven to do so again with cornerback Jack Jones.

The New England Patriots are great at picking talent that flies under the radar. Their most notable pick has been Tom Brady, a fourth-string quarterback taken at No. 199 who turned a chip on his shoulder into a six-Lombardi dynasty.

Because of Brady and their continued success, the Patriots have hardly had high draft picks over the past two decades, and Bill Belichick has a tendency to trade down and swap for even more picks.

It’s been a mixed bag, with the Patriots missing the mark over and over again with wide receivers, most notably with N’Keal Harry in 2019. However, the Patriots have always been able to scout the next generation of cornerback talent. Malcolm Butler made the pick that destroyed Seattle, J.C. Jackson has been the NFL’s most underrated cornerback for years, and now, it seems they’ve done it again with fourth-round 2022 draft pick Jack Jones.

“Jack Jones using the sideline to his benefit,” Mike Giardi of NFL Network tweeted. “Kid has been key for this defense. A potential big hit by Matt Groh and the scouting staff. #Patriots.”

Jones saw his first NFL start in Week 4 and kicked off his professional career with a bang. In the first half, Jones already had a forced fumble, fumble recovery and a pick-six versus the great Aaron Rodgers.

Jones also stood out in the Week 5 game against the Detroit Lions by picking off Jared Goff, and many people have noted they don’t these are fluke performances. Bernd Buchmasser of Pats Pulpit, for example, wrote that “Jones was a prolific player in his final two high school seasons, even earning first-team All-State honors as a junior. In total, he caught 106 passes for 1,556 yards and 16 touchdowns in his two years before fully committing to the defensive side of the ball.”

Similar to the undrafted Butler and Jackson, Jones didn’t have a traditional path to the NFL, as he had to transfer colleges twice in order to find the best opportunity. Luckily for the Patriots, the fourth-rounder has already proven to be a capable replacement after Jackson left for the Los Angeles Chargers. Through the first five weeks of the season, PFF graded Jones as the NFL’s top cornerback in single-coverage with a grade of 92.

Patriots CB Jack Jones struggled to stay in college football

Jones’ grades suffered after his sophomore year at USC, so he transferred to Moorpark College to improve his academic performance and continue to play. Thankfully, he was able to, and he then transferred to Arizona State University to continue his football career.

At Arizona State, he quickly made an impact. In 2021, according to ASU, he tied for the team lead with three interceptions (tied for first among Pac-12 corners), was named Honorable Mention Defensive Back by the the Pac-12 Conference and “played in 25 games and started in 24, accumulated 86 total tackles, five interceptions, 25 pass deflections, three forced fumbles, and a blocked field goal,” to name a few.

If he hadn’t been able to continue in college, he wouldn’t have gone to the NFL. Luckily, he’s appearing to be a future impact player for the Patriots.

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