Cornerback Nic Jones
Brett Veach has a knack for finding quality defensive backs in the draft's later rounds. Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson, and even L'Jariuis Sneed all come to mind. Watson, a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft, started six games for the eventual Super Bowl champions and performed better than expected. Could 2023 seventh-round pick Nic Jones have a similar story this season? Preseason action will give fans a better look.
Jones' first NFL training camp has been a successful one for the Ball State alum. He has competed against top Chiefs like Travis Kelce, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Justyn Ross. A pass breakup against Valdes-Scantling is particularly impressive, as he was one-on-one with a receiver known for being a downfield threat. His juggling interception in rookie minicamp shows the incredible ball skills and instincts that Jones possesses. The Chiefs have deployed Jones both as an outside corner and in the slot. Steve Spagnuolo loves a versatile player in the slot, and Jones' speed and size could work best in the slot. Also, no Sneed and a limited Trent McDuffie in preseason action will open up opportunities for Jones in the slot.
He needs to not only perform on defense, but Jones also needs to find a role on special teams. Luckily, he was a "regular on kick return and punt return coverages," according to Dane Brugler's pre-draft analysis. Jones has the physical tools, but his mindset on special teams makes me more confident in his contrivance anywhere.
"It's just another way of life for me," Jones said. "Football is football. It doesn't really make a difference what you're playing out there. For me, it's just another chance to make plays. I feel like if I'm out there, it's because they trust me to make plays, so no matter how big or how small, I want to make them."
Jones has received praise from his teammates and coaches for his work ethic and commitment to mastering the playbook, in addition to his strong performances in camp. He does not look overwhelmed in training camp, and the preseason game could solidify him as a depth piece in the defensive backfield. With an impressive preseason showing, Jones will definitely make a case for himself to earn a spot on the Chiefs' final roster and contribute to the team's success this season.