If there’s one word that adequately describes Chicago Bears’ third-round pick Velus Jones Jr.’s style of play, it’s exciting. The do-it-all offensive weapon is expected to inject juice into a passing attack that lacks much firepower outside of wide receiver Darnell Mooney, and he’s fired up to get to work with quarterback Justin Fields.
“I’m so excited,” Jones said Friday night via The Athletic. “I’m really excited, especially a guy like Justin, a great leader, and seeing what he’s accomplished throughout his career, and (he) has so much more (left to do). He doesn’t have a ceiling on him, a true talent, and I just can’t wait to receive balls from him.”
Jones is one of this year’s oldest draft picks; he turns 25 in May. And maybe it’s that maturity that already has him acting like a pro; compliment your quarterback, and your chances at a high volume of targets go up. But he won’t have to rely on looks from Fields to contribute in 2022. He’s expected to play a significant role on special teams as a return man.
“It’s truly a blessing with all of the history there, even one of the great returners, Devin Hester,” Jones said. “It’s a big role, but I’ve been ready for this all my life.”
Velus Jones Jr.’s speed made him an easy pick
Jones wasn’t projected to go as high as the Bears drafted him — No. 71 overall. He’s long been considered a day-three prospect, but if there’s anything the NFL has proven throughout the years, it’s that the league loves fast players. Jones is one of the fastest in the 2022 NFL Draft after dazzling with a 4.31 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
“I mean, he just runs by guys,” Bears scout Sam Summerville said Friday. “And every time he gets the ball in his hands, you can see him outrunning angles. And, you know, he’s a real exciting guy to watch because of that.”
There’s been a consistent trend from Bears General Manager Ryan Poles this offseason regarding his preference at wide receiver. Whether it’s Byron Pringle, or David Moore, or even Equanimeous St. Brown, Poles is targeting fast players. All three free-agent signings ran 40-yard dashes in the 4.4s. Pringle and Moore, like Jones, are 6-foot and a compact 200-plus pounds. It’s safe to say Poles has a type. And while Bears fans grew frustrated with his failure to add a prospect like Georgia’s George Pickens or Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce in the second round, the Bears did end up with a talented field-flipper in Jones.
The Bears played the long game. They waited an extra round before pulling the trigger on a wide receiver and managed to bolster the secondary because of that patience. Now, it’s on Jones to be the playmaker Chicago is banking on him becoming. He certainly has the confidence of one.
“When the ball touches my hands from an over route, curl route, an out route, I’m going to make something happen.”