Chicago Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. is beginning his NFL career with a level of pressure that doesn’t usually come with being a third-round pick. Players selected where Jones was — No. 71 overall — are expected to contribute as rookies, but the expectations for Jones are higher; he has to be a critical piece of the Bears’ offense in 2022.
“I want to win games and help this coaching staff win games,” Jones said via the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m all about winning and any way I can affect the game, definitely in the return game and as a receiver. I’m blessed that I can do both because I can impact the game in different ways. I’m really excited about that. Wherever they need me to be, that’s where I’ll be.”
Bears counting on Velus Jones Jr. to do it all
There’s little doubt about where the Bears need Jones to be in 2022. He’ll open training camp as one of the top three receivers on the depth chart with a chance to climb higher than that. He’s an older rookie — he turned 25 years old this month — and his maturity should help him adjust quickly to life in the NFL. And there’s that speed thing, too. He ran a 4.31 at the NFL Combine and instantly became the most explosive athlete on the Bears’ roster when General Manager Ryan Poles made the pick.
Head Coach Matt Eberflus said offensive coordinator Luke Getsy plans to be creative with Jones. “He’s going to look at his skill set and then we’ll expand that role. Let’s start him out at receiver and then let’s see what he can do — moving him around to different spots and getting him the ball, because he is an explosive athlete.”
Just get the ball in Jones’s hands. Sounds like a good plan for a guy who can flip the field with one touch. The Bears haven’t had a player with that skillset since Devin Hester, whose game-changing explosiveness has him on a path toward the Hall of Fame.
“When I think of Devin Hester, I think greatness and fearless,” Jones said. “He slowed everything down from his cuts to his decision making. Even with Madden back in the day, we knew his speed. So much goes with his game and I watched him since I was young and it was a huge impact on me as a kid.”