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Who is Marcus Jones? Patriots rookie continues breakout with receiving touchdown vs. Bills on ‘TNF’

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The Patriots may have found the unthinkable in the 2022 NFL Draft: a three-way player.

Two games after his game-winning punt return touchdown against the Jets, rookie cornerback Marcus Jones added a receiving touchdown to his resume Thursday, a 48-yard touchdown on a wide receiver screen.

MORE: Live updates and highlights of Bills-Patriots

As impressive as the punt return was, the Houston product’s vision and afterburners on the receiving TD were almost more impressive. After a quick cut, he was gone.

It was Jones’ first offensive snap of the season. To say he made it count would be an understatement.

He rewarded Bill Belichick’s willingness to go unconventional, and he gave a jolt to a Patriots offense that had already fumbled twice in the game (one by Mac Jones and the other by Rhamondre Stevenson. New England recovered both.)

Jones, naturally, drew a lot of attention for his touchdown.

And his versatility also helped to place a spotlight on his contribution to the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” initiative: custom-made cleats in honor of his daughter, Skylar. In a segment for Amazon, Jones talked about “playing like a girl.” 

In his first touch in his cleats for a cause, Jones reached the top speed for a Patriots ball carrier this season.

Where did Marcus Jones go to college?

Jones was this type of player at Troy and Houston. He averaged over 14 yards per punt return in both of his seasons at Houston and he was a three-phase player his senior year. The Patriots drafted Jones in the third round last April, but they have to be seeing first-round potential in a player who is a budding star.

“He’s fast. He’s quick,” Belichick said after Jones’ punt return touchdown against the Jets. “He returned punts and kickoffs (in college). He also played some offense. He was converted to receiver. He was an explosive playmaker that ended up moving to defense, played inside, played outside and returned kicks. He did all those in college. He’s a good player.”

Houston tried unsuccessfully to push Jones as a Heisman candidate in 2021.

“He’s the most versatile player in college football,” coach Dana Holgorsen said at the time, per The Daily Cougar. “You can’t deny that.”

Playing in the AAC hurt Jones’ Heisman chances and draft standing. In the NFL, where there is no Power 5, he’s making himself impossible to ignore.


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