Of the Bears' 11 picks in the NFL Draft, ESPN analyst Todd McShay feels that third-round choice Velus Jones Jr., a receiver and return specialist from Tennessee, was their best selection.
McShay has identified the best pick for all 32 teams, stressing that it's not necessarily the best player. The factors he considers are team needs, the value a player presented compared to his draft board and any trades related to the pick.
The Bears selected Jones with the 71st overall selection in the draft. He arrives after appearing in 61 games with 21 starts over six seasons at USC (2016-19) and Tennessee (2020-21). In his career, Jones caught 120 passes for 1,434 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also averaged 24.4 yards with two touchdowns on 122 kickoff returns and 15.1 yards on 18 punt returns.
He enjoyed a breakout 2021 campaign, more than doubling his career totals with 62 receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns. In addition, Jones was named the SEC Co-Special teams Player of the Year after averaging 27.3 yards with one TD on 23 kickoff returns and 15.1 yards on 18 punt returns.
Here's what McShay wrote about the Bears' third-round pick:
"I love Jones' upside. He's a tad under 6-foot and is still refining his route running, but look at his speed and contact balance. He is a threat any time the ball is in his hands, with instincts and elusiveness in the open field and the breakaway speed to take the top off the defense. Jones' 4.31 in the 40 ranked fourth among all participants at the combine and second among receivers, and he's built like a running back.
"Chicago can get the ball in his hands on quick slants and let him pick up extra yards. They can target him on deep shots. They can get him involved on sweeps. And they can use him in the return game, where he averaged 24.4 yards per kickoff return and 15.1 per punt return during his college career."
Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker, Velus Jones Jr., Braxton Jones, Dominique Robinson, Zachary Thomas, Trestan Ebner, Doug Kramer, Ja'Tyre Carter, Elijah Hicks and Trenton Gill. See photos of all the new Bears rookies selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.