Marcus Jones’ college coach thinks he could be a better slot receiver than Wes Welker

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

The Patriots appear intent on using rookie cornerback Marcus Jones as a kick returner this season.

But how about trying him on offense?

That idea may not be as crazy as it sounds. Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen, who coached Wes Welker and Danny Amendola at Texas A&M, apparently thinks Jones could be an impact slot receiver.

Houston defensive coordinator Doug Pelk relayed that tidbit to NBC Sports’ Phil Perry.

“[Holgorsen] coached a couple of Patriots legends," Belk said on Perry’s Patriots podcast. “He coached [Wes] Welker and [Danny] Amendola. He thinks that if Marcus played offense, his skill set was as good or better than those guys as far as getting in and out of breaks, the quickness, the hand-eye coordination, knowing how to use his body as an offensive weapon.”

Jones occasionally played receiver for the Cougars, catching 10 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown last season. Belk says they would’ve lined up at receiver even more, but he was too valuable as a corner.

“If Marcus wasn't as valuable as he was to our defense, he probably would've taken even more offensive snaps,” Belk said. “But we wanted to manage his body throughout the season. He actually wanted to play more offense than we played him.”

Jones’ versatility might explain why the Patriots selected him in the third round. When Robert Kraft called Jones on draft night to congratulate him, the Patriots owner hinted they view him as a difference-maker on special teams.

“It’s great to have you with us,” Kraft said. “I heard you’re a great punt returner, besides being a good inside cornerback.”

Add great receiver to the list, at least according to his old coach.