After New England declined to draft or acquire a top cornerback in the draft this season, many assumed the Patriots would rely heavily on zone coverage to mask their deficiencies on the outside.
As it turns out, the Patriots might just have two of the best one-on-one cover corners in the league at this moment -- both of whom have come somewhat out of nowhere.
Pro Football Focus currently ranks Jonathan Jones and Jack Jones as its two highest-graded cornerbacks in single coverage this year with grades of 91.5 and 90.8, respectively. Philadelphia's Darius Slay ranks behind them at third with a grade of 85.1.
The rookie Jones, who just got his first NFL start, is allowing a miniscule passer rating of 9.2 when targeted, coming up with a pick-six against Aaron Rodgers and allowing just one catch in five targets. His footwork and aggressiveness to attack the football have been impressive in limited action.
His veteran Jones "brother" has been just about as impressive with an interception and pass breakup in seven targets in one-on-one coverage, surrendering a passer rating of just 25.6.
Each got beat on some tough throws by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last week because, well, that happens when you play Rodgers. But both have shown the Patriots can play man coverage effectively after the initial trepidation about their cornerback room.
Their ability to stick their matchups also lets the Patriots mix and match in the slot, whether that means bumping Jonathan Jones back inside or experimenting with Jalen Mills, who has struggled with injuries, into the slot as well.
One way or another, Jack Jones has earned himself many more opportunities to prove himself on the outside, and his ascent might make the Patriots a more dangerous defensive team in the process.