LAKE FOREST – After using his first two picks as Bears general manager on defensive players, Ryan Poles finally got a weapon for Justin Fields on offense.
In the third round with the 71st overall pick, the team selected wide receiver Velus Jones from Tennessee as the team adds not only receiver depth but also a player that can contribute on special teams.
He caught many team’s attention at the NFL Combine when he ran a 4.31 40-yard dash.
In the second round, the Bears selected Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon with the 39th overall pick and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker with the 48th overall pick.
Jones spent the last two seasons with the Volunteers after starting his college career at USC, where he played from 2016-2019. In his final season at Tennessee in 2021, he was a first-team All-SEC selection and was also named the conference’s co-special teams play of the year.
In that final season, Jones caught 62 passes for 807 yards and seven touchdowns, returned 23 kicks for 623 yards (27.3 per return average) and a touchdown while also fielding 18 punts for 272 yards (15.1 per return average).
For his career between USC and Tennessee, Jones caught 120 passes for 1,434 yards with 11 touchdowns, with a good amount of that production (84 catches, 1,087 yards, 10 touchdowns) coming while a member of the Volunteers.
Jones will find a place on the Bears quickly as the team is in need of wide receiver depth while also looking for those that can make an impact. Only Darnell Mooney comes back in 2022 with a set starting position as a few free agents, like Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown, compete for playing time.
The third round draft pick could also find his way onto the return team for the Bears with Pro Bowler Jakeem Grant signing with the Browns. Khalil Herbert, who will enter his second year, figures to also get his shot to continue returning in 2022.