By: Ian Logue
The Patriots made their first defensive selection of the 2022 NFL Draft on Friday night, adding a pretty dynamic player to their football team. They selected University of Houston defensive back Marcus Jones with the 85th overall selection, who brings a lot of terrific attributes to a team that addressed more than one need by grabbing him.
Here are five things to know about him:
1) He's Terrific In Coverage: One of the things that stands out about Jones is that he’s got really good technique and is a fairly polished player. Watching him on film, he’s someone who does a great job staying with his man and has great instincts with an unbelievably quick break on the football. According to PFF, he earned a coverage grade of at least 80 at both Troy and Houston, with Jones finishing his final season with 12 pass breakups as well as five interceptions.
2) He Might Not Be Big, But He Makes Up For It: The biggest knock on Jones is the fact he comes in at just 5’8″, which led to quite a bit of buzz about him among fans following his selection. But what really stands out when looking at the film is that he plays a lot bigger than he is. His leaping ability was impressive, with quite a few highlights showing him leap up and over a receiver to make a play.
4) He’s an Unbelievable Kick Returner: As good as Jones is defensively, he’s absolutely outstanding in the return game. He finished his 2020 season averaging 19.8 yards on 17 punt returns for a FBS leading 337-yards along with a touchdown. His 2021 season was also impressive as he returned 26 punts for 374 yards and two touchdowns. Watching Jones, he’s really good at changing direction, which likely can be attributed to his play on defense. But there were quite a few occasions where he completely faked out would-be tacklers, only to accelerate by them.
5) He’s Also Played on Offense: Thanks to his athleticism, Houston actually used Jones on the offensive side of the football against Rice in Week 2 of last season during a 44-7 rout. In that game, Jones lined up on offense and was targeted five times and finished with four receptions for 51-yards. They targeted him on a 1st-and-10 on their second possession of that contest, which saw Jones get things started with a 19-yard gain, and then they hit him again two plays later for a 29-yard pick up that got them down to the Rice 28-yard line and led to a field goal.
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