Chicago Bears third-round pick, former Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., has a well-defined set of skills. He’s fast — like, really fast. He blazed a 4.31 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. His return skills will make him an instant upgrade on special teams, and his ability to put defensive backs in a blender was on display during the 2022 Senior Bowl.
But physical traits are only part of the evaluation process. NFL teams host prospects for in-person visits to get to know more about the person than the player, and when those visits aren’t doable, meetings on Zoom serve as a good alternative.
The Bears’ decision to draft Jones in the third round has sparked objection around the league, but for General Manage Ryan Poles and his scouting department, it was an easy choice. Part of what made it so easy was the aura Jones exuded during his Zoom meeting with the team.
“With Velus [Jones Jr.], he did a Zoom because it was hard to get flights out of Knoxville with his schedule,” Poles told ChicagoBears.com. “You could tell the more people that talked to him, there was a little bit of a buzz in the building just in terms of how he presented himself and what kind of man of character he was. Everyone was excited about the possibility of drafting a player like that.”
Velus Jones Jr. checks every box
Who knows whether the Bears would’ve selected Jones if they didn’t have that meeting. It’s certainly possible that Jones won Poles over with his character, and that’s a good thing. Chicago is rebuilding, and a successful rebuild requires players with strong character who can serve as leaders in the locker room. Perhaps, Jones will be one of those guys.
Putting all of the pieces together, and the Jones pick continues making more and more sense. He was one of the best pure athletes in the 2022 draft. He has no medical or injury red flags. And his character checks all the boxes. Sure, he’s 25 years old, but if that’s the worst thing that can be said about him? The Bears landed themselves a really good player.