The Bears bolstered their offense on Friday by selecting Tennessee receiver Velus Jones Jr. in the third round of the NFL Draft, 71st overall.
Jones started 21 games in 61 games during his six seasons at USC (2016-19) and Tennessee (2020-21). He caught 120 catches for 1,434 yards and 11 touchdowns at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds.
On 122 kickoff returns, he averaged 24.4 yards with two touchdowns and 15.1 yards on 18 punt returns.
Jones had a career-high 62 receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021, more than tripling his career totals. He was also selected SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year after averaging 27.3 yards on 23 kickoff returns with one touchdown and 15.1 yards on 18 punt returns.
Jones is ecstatic to have been chosen by the Bears and is looking forward to working with second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
“I’m really excited, especially [to play with] a tremendous leader like Justin and seeing what he’s accomplished throughout his career, and he has so much more,” Jones said. “He’s a great talent who has no ceiling, and I can’t wait to receive balls from him.”
“With all of the history there, including one of the great returners, Devin Hester, it’s a wonderful blessing.” It’s a significant responsibility, but I’ve been preparing for it my entire life.
I’ve been playing football since I was four years old, and I’ve always been a firm believer in God. I’m just really happy and can’t wait to go up there.”
Jones’ ability to gain yards after the catch is one of his best qualities.
“That speed and size combination makes it difficult to stop [Jones], but it also gives him a power that a lot of guys don’t have,” said Bears area scout Sam Summerville. “With that kind of combination, that’s something that’s hard to come by.”
Jones takes pride in his inability to be tackled.
“Ball-in-hand guy,” he clarified, “doesn’t mean merely short passes.” “I’m going to make something happen when the ball touches my hands from an over route, curl route, or out route, especially with the mentality I have.” My father taught me to never, ever be tackled by the first person.
That’s something I’ve been experiencing. That’s something I was able to capture on tape to demonstrate that I’m one of the top ball-in-hand players in the country. As a result, make the first man miss and make a play.”
Jones not only avoids tacklers, but he also attempts to run through or over them.
He explained, “That’s just a part of me.” “It was always my approach when I was little and playing park league running back. My thinking is that of a dog. I’m absolutely going to get physicality on a clip.
My grandfather, a retired marine with a deadly mindset, taught me how to be strong and manly. It’s just that contact is something I’ve never been frightened of. It’s reflected in the film, which provides a strong portrait of you.
That is a part of my genetic makeup. It’s a part of my personality. Physicality and interaction are a part of my family tree and where I come from.”