Chicago Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. has yet to make his NFL debut. He’s missed the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury, but there’s optimism he could take the field for the first time Sunday against the New York Giants.
His return to the lineup could be the jumpstart the Bears’ passing offense needs after posting archaic stat lines in their 2-1 start.
“I can help him out a lot,” Jones said Wednesday of Fields, via NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s why they drafted me early in the third round. That’s really been on my mind. I’ve been visualizing that and manifesting, so when that day comes, I’m definitely going to go out there and give it my all, and show everybody what I can do, and prove it to myself.”
The Bears’ decision to draft Jones was met with immediate criticism. Chicago was expected to target one of the more popular wide receiver prospects in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, so when they opted for defense (Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker), eyebrows were raised. Jones’ advanced age (he’s a 25-year-old rookie) and his predraft grade — he was projected to be a day-three pick — only compounded matters.
But that’s ancient history now. All that matters is whether Jones can prove he’s the key the Bears need to unlock their offense.
“Oh man, you know my mentality every time I touch the ball — make a play,” Jones said. “I’m looking to score every time the ball hits my hands. I’m really good with yards after catch and especially with yards after contact. That’s why I’m pushing to make sure I’m as healthy as possible and so I can be that dynamic player I know I can be.”
It won’t take much for Jones to level up Fields and the rest of the Chicago Bears passing attack. The Bears’ leading receiver (yards) is Equanimeous St. Brown (77). The leading pass-catcher (receptions) is running back David Montgomery (5). Chicago’s presumptive WR1, Darnell Mooney, has just four catches for 27 yards through three games.
Jones has a legitimate chance to surpass St. Brown in yardage on one wide receiver screen he takes to the house; he has that kind of field-flipping ability. The Bears don’t have anyone else on the roster who can do what he does. He just needs to get on the field and show it now.