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.
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— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 30, 2022
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.
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— Josh Heupel (@coachjoshheupel) April 30, 2022