(670 The Score) It's no secret why the Bears were initially drawn to receiver Velus Jones Jr., whom they selected in the third round of the NFL Draft. Put on the tape, and his 4.31 speed certainly stands out.
But the Bears liked a lot more than just Jones' raw talent. When they hosted him at Halas Hall for a pre-draft visit, he and coach Matt Eberflus connected in a 15-minute meeting. General manager Ryan Poles was also struck by the person whom he was preparing to draft.
“He’s different,” Poles said. “He’s special. There’s something about him.
“There’s an aura about him.”
The Bears added an intriguing prospect in selecting Jones with the No. 71 overall pick in the third round. Jones turns 25 on Wednesday, which makes him one of the oldest prospects in this rookie class. He's also still a developing player in whom the Bears see upside. They believe Jones has the makeup to fulfill his potential in Chicago.
“I realize what’s at stake, and this is the best job in the world,” Jones said.
In the days before the draft, Poles brought second-year quarterback Justin Fields into the film room to review tape on wide receiver prospects. Jones was a player who caught Fields' attention. A consensus was forming.
Though there were more polished receiver prospects available for the Bears in the third round, they went with their belief in what Jones can be. Poles believes there’s plenty he can bring.
“You can do different things with him,” Poles said. “You can put him in different areas -- backfield, slot, run cool plays with him, misdirections. And again, that’s a pain for a defense – not only like on game day but to prepare for. You have to take the extra step to understand who he is, where he’s at, what do they run out of this. And then you can kind of tweak and change that week to week.
“You're going to keep developing him, take him into areas improving route running and improving different things. I'm not comparing him to Tyreek (Hill), but I just remember that transformation that he was like a returner. Someone cracked a joke at the Pro Bowl, 'Oh he's just a returner.' He went to work and they developed him and he was a route runner. And then all of a sudden his hands got better, he worked on the JUGS so like his game just expanded.
“There’s a lot we can do.”
Jones believes he can improve by being better with his route breaks. That means creating separation from opposing defenders earlier in the play, which will make his speed more of an asset.
If there’s to be something special in store, Jones knows it's going to take a great commitment to his craft. He's ready to put in the work.
“I’m just coming in and I’m ready to establish a role on this team to help us win games,” he said. “Definitely my mind is screwed on right.
“They’re definitely getting a mature guy that’s all about his business and is going to help this team in any way possible.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.