Cyrus Jones’ impact in New England could be significant
Last year, the New England Patriots had one of the best up and coming defenses which featured Pro Bowlers such as, Malcolm Butler and Dont’a Hightower. The one area where the team struggled was with their third cornerback which had multiple players trying to stabilize the position including Bradley Fletcher, Justin Coleman, Tarell Brown, and Leonard Johnson. With the great play of both Butler and Logan Ryan on the outside, some teams decided to attack whoever was playing in that third position. Although that position was not a severe need for the team, they may have found a solution to that problem in rookie second rounder, Cyrus Jones.
In early may, the Patriots selected former Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones who played cornerback and punt returner for the Crimson Tide and had a really good season in 2015-16. The 5’10 cornerback had 2 interceptions, as well as 4 punt returns for touchdowns. What he brings to the team is a promising cornerback prospect who could slide right in and be the slot cornerback that the team desperately needs. With both Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan’s contracts up at the end of the 2016-17 season, Jones could also be a replacement on the outside if the team were to not bring back one or both of them.
Jones’ ability to return punts could also be a great help to the team. The Patriots currently have Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, who both retuned punts last season and had success in doing so. Edelman’s impact on the offense cannot be understated, so having a player like Jones should allow Edelman to reduce the risk of injury and focus on the offensive side of the ball. Amendola could still be a solid contributor in special teams, but Jones should get a chance to return as many punts as possible, given his potential.
New England is great at planning ahead and making the best decisions for the team and the selection of Jones definitely falls under that category. Offensive line may have been seen as a bigger need for the team, but, with the versatility that Jones brings, the team could not pass up on a chance to get a player who can help with more than just one aspect of the game. With the NFL continuing to be more of a passing league, having three solid cornerbacks is a great way to build a strong defense.
All stats provided by FOX Sports
Colby Gatz covers the New England Patriots for MFST, and you can follow him on Twitter @bostonfan_15.