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Former Vol Receiving High Praise Before the NFL Draft

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After two memorable seasons in Knoxville, former transfer wide receiver Velus Jones Jr has his degree from the University of Tennessee and is working his way to the NFL Draft. And after a great showing in the Reece’s Senior Bowl in early February, the former Vol looks to be trending upward at the right time.

Even two weeks after the event concluded, Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy is still raving about the showing that Jones Jr had.

“NFL scouts have been in draft meetings past couple weeks and hearing @Vol_Football WR Velus Jones Jr. is getting pushed up many boards,” Nagy said in a tweet on Sunday.

Clocking in at 21.75 miles per hour, Jones Jr was the “second-fastest offensive prospect at [the] Senior Bowl,” according to Nagy.

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After a solid performance in the Senior Bowl, Jones was chosen as one of the “risers” from the Pro Football Network.

“As one of the fastest receivers out there, Velus Jones Jr. put on a display,” PFN’s Cam Mellor wrote after the event. “He was quick off the line in 1-on-1 drills and even quicker on straight-line routes. Jones blew by defenders with that speed and utilized that burst to create separation. What Jones did show that was new was an elite ability at the catch point and some terrific body control. Not every catch counted, but Jones made essentially a highlight reel’s worth of clips with just his displays in 1-on-1s. He contorted his body and kept his feet in bounds while snatching the ball from defenders both in the end zone during red-zone drills and in the open field all the same. It was a great display of skills that translate to the NFL.”

One of the best moments from the Senior Bowl was when two former teammates were selected against each other in a one-on-one drill: Alontae Taylor vs Velus Jones Jr.

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In his second season at Tennessee, Jones Jr was a critical piece in the offensive storm that Tennessee created. For a significant portion of the year, Jones Jr was Tennessee’s leading receiver as a clear go-to target for quarterback Hendon Hooker. Jones Jr finished the 2021 season with 807 yards and seven touchdowns on 62 receptions.

Additionally, Jones Jr was a vital part in transforming the Tennessee offense into a nationwide threat. By the end of the college football season, Tennessee was ranked seventh in scoring offense (39.3 PPG) and ninth in total offense (474.9 YPG).

Below is a series of highlights from Velus Jones Jr’s time at the 2022 Senior Bowl.

Notice the difference between the clip above and below. Jones’ ability to disguise his break direction is solid. Both routes start the same, with a stutter step as Jones is approaching the endzone. However, with all the shaking and misdirection going on, it’s nearly impossible to predict which way he is going to go.

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