The Patriots knew they were drafting a player in the third round with game-changing potential but might not have expected Jones to contribute so effectively so quickly. His walk-off punt return against the Jets, touchdown catch against the Bills and 69-yard pick-six against the Bengals were among the most explosive and exciting plays of the season, but those plays weren't a surprise to Jones' former Houston teammates.
"Man, that's my guy," said safety Gervarrius Owens at the Combine on Thursday, cracking a smile at the mention of his former teammate and friend. "It's crazy because you see him do all of that in college and everything. You already know what's coming, but every time it happens it's like, there ain't no way he just did that again.
"Just for him to have all that success in a rookie season and playing for Bill Belichick, you have to go earn your stripes with him."
Owens said the Houston team was together and watching the Patriots-Jets Week 11 matchup when the 3-3 game came down to a final punt return.
"When he had the game-winning punt return, it's like we're all in the locker room just chilling, everybody getting their phones out like, 'He might just do it.' Hit the sideline to the crib. It's just crazy."
Jones' electric return ability quickly translated to the professional game, but he also began to carve out a role on offense, sparked by a 48-yard catch-and-run that gave the Patriots an early 7-3 lead against the Bills and in a matchup role at cornerback. For the season, Jones played 37 percent of the defensive snaps, 40 percent of the special teams snaps, and a small but effective 18 snaps on offense.
Owens said that Jones reached out to him when it looked like he was finally going to get his shot on offense late in the season.
"I'm like, 'Rookie season? You're fixing to play offense?'", relayed Owens. "First time he touched the ball, goes to the crib. I'm like, 'Man, this guy's crazy.' He's definitely a special talent for sure."
With just one season under his belt, the future is bright for Jones and while his roles on special teams seem solidified, the possibilities on offense and defense are enticing for a player who might just become a unique three-way threat in NFL.
A few of our favorite photos of defensive back Marcus Jones from the 2022 season.
DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer