Based on the early returns from training camp, the Chicago Bears may have got the steal of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The speedy wide receiver turned some heads this week as he earned praise for his better-than-expected route running and a play he made over rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon
Velus Jones is a better route runner than he gets credit for. Nice win over Gordon. #Bears— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) July 28, 2022
Velus Jones Jr is looking dominant in the slot & much more comfortable there than outside. The news of him being a plug and play starter inside looks to be true— DBNB (@DaBadNewsBears) July 28, 2022
Darnell Mooney in particular made plays all over the field. The deep crosser highlighted earlier is just one of the plays he made today.— Erik Duerrwaechter (@EDuerrwaechter) July 28, 2022
Velus Jones Jr. also toasted a few DBs today. Byron Pringle contributed when targeted.
The Bears are hoping that second-year quarterback Justin Fields can take a major step forward in 2022. The only problem is that Chicago didn’t get Fields much help this offseason via free agency.
Fortunately for Fields, it appears that Jones is ready to be a key contributor as a rookie.
Jones was an afterthought entering his final season at Tennessee. He caught 22 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns in 2020 before breaking out in 2021 with 62 receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns.
The reason for the dramatic improvement?
Tennessee’s offense changed under new head coach Josh Heupel, allowing Jones more freedom to get into the open field and use his speed to make plays. That speed is what led the Bears to draft Jones in the third round.
And based on what we’re hearing so far, it sounds like the Bears could’ve selected Jones in the first round (if they would’ve had a first-round pick) and it still would’ve been a great selection.
The former Vols standout should be a vital part of Chicago’s massive rebuild under new general manager Ryan Poles.
Featured image via Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports