BREAKING: Velus Jones Jr. Drafted in the Third Round of the NFL Draft

    by -

    The Chicago Bears selected Tennessee receiver Velus Jones Jr. in the 3rd round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    The Bears took Jones with the 71st overall pick of the draft (7th in the 3rd round) after taking Kyler Gordon and Jaquoan Brisker in the first two rounds.

    Jones spent his first three collegiate seasons at USC before transferring to Tennessee to play for Jeremy Pruitt ahead of the 2020 season.

    The Saraland, Alabama native got off to a slow start in his senior season but finished strong in a struggling offense with poor quarterback play.

    Jones football career changed when Tennessee fired Pruitt and replaced him with UCF head coach Josh Heupel. The receiver had one more year of eligibility remaining due to NCAA COVID-19 relief and decided to stick it out in Knoxville after the coaching change.

    NFL Draft: Alontae Taylor Becomes the First Tennessee Player Drafted in 2022 Draft

    The 6-foot receiver got off to a slow start in his super-senior season thanks in part to a preseason injury. However, Jones moved to slot receiver a few weeks into the season and he flourished from there.

    “He’s been very productive in the slot, and like you said, he’s almost like a running back with the ball in his hands,” then-Tennessee receiver’s coach Kodi Burns said. “He’s really hard to tackle. He’s strong, he plays through contact, he has really good ball skills. Once again, just a veteran guy who’s played a lot of football, and really excited to see his role continue to grow and build.”

    Jones developed into an elite offensive weapon for Tennessee, catching 62 passes for 807 yards and seven touchdowns.

    The receiver was dynamic with the ball in his hands, becoming Tennessee’s best yards after catch receiver. That also showed itself in the return game where Jones was dynamic. The Alabama native earned co-SEC Special Teams Player of the Year honors for his returner skills.

    “I’d say my playmaking ability in different phases of the game when it comes to punt return, kickoff return, and playing receiver and having the ability to make plays out of the backfield as well,” Jones said of his strengths. “When it comes to me I feel I’m four players in one. I can make plays in any phase of the game.”

    Jones is the second Vol drafted in the 2022 draft, joining Alontae Taylor, who was selected by the New Orleans Saints.

    Stay tuned at RockyTopInsider.com all weekend for complete Tennessee NFL Draft coverage.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.