Some teams prefer to take things slowly with their rookie classes. They know how intimidating the NFL can be and prefer to take things step by step, letting them learn at a steady pace. It doesn’t sound like the Chicago Bears will be one of those teams. At least not where Velus Jones is concerned. Their offense needs options in the passing game right now, and they can’t afford to take the patient approach with their 3rd round pick.
During his recent press interview, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert revealed that the team loves what Jones brings to the table. Sure there’s the well-documented speed. Guys that can run a 4.31 don’t grow on trees. Yet the value goes beyond that. Jones might be one of the best run-after-the-catch receivers in the 2022 class. He’s also a good run blocker and a major special teams contributor. That may explain why they felt comfortable throwing so much of the new playbook at him right away.
“We’ve thrown him into the fire pretty quick, put him at two positions immediately. Get him to learn it now. Because we want him to learn the whole concept. But specifically, a couple of positions to get him going, so whenever he can … the more he can do, the more obviously he’ll have a chance to play. So, we’re going to throw it all at him and see what he soaks in, and hopefully, he’ll get out there and make some plays for us.”
Velus Jones has plenty of motivation to do well.
Many draft experts criticized the Bears when they selected him in the 3rd round last month. It was called a reach at the time, with several other receivers available that would’ve been better choices. To say nothing of the fact he was turning 25-years-old. They refuse to believe he’ll have anything to offer the team outside of being a solid kick returner. GM Ryan Poles shrugged off the criticisms, feeling the transition will be much easier for Jones due to his maturity.
Expectations are the Bears already have a package in mind for Velus Jones this season. Even if he’s not ready to run a full route tree, there are plenty of ways to get him the football. He was excellent on quick slants and bubble screens at Tennessee and can also be used in jet sweeps and other creative hand-offs. Not to mention the tried and true method of sending him on a straight vertical route using that speed. He will be a factor this season. It’s only a matter of how big.