The Patriots will introduce corner Cyrus Jones as their first pick of the 2016 draft on Friday, presenting him with a jersey as he poses for pictures with team owner Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft.
Jones was taken with the No. 60 overall selection in the second round of last weekend's draft, providing coach Bill Belichick's cornerback group with some depth. The 5-foot-10, 197-pounder from Alabama is also an accomplished punt returner -- he brought four back for touchdowns last season -- giving him a variety of avenues by which he could contribute as a rookie.
Here are five things to know about Jones on the day he's introduced . . .
1. He's fairly well prepared for the coaching he'll get in the NFL after playing under Nick Saban at Alabama: "Playing for Coach Saban – he’s a great coach, arguably one of the best, arguably the best in the country – and I’ve heard many things that he’s compared to Coach Belichick and that our program is ran similar to how the Patriots’ is run," Jones said after being drafted. "I feel as though I’m greatly prepared for the next level thanks to Coach Saban and the people I had around me for four years, just getting me ready both on and off the field." Before the draft, Jones had only met Belichick once. It was on the day before the Alabama pro day, and Jones watched film with the future Hall of Fame coach and some of his 'Bama teammates. Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower made the Saban-to-Belichick transition relatively smoothly back in 2012. Now that he's one of the leader's of Belichick's defense, perhaps Hightower can help Jones in that regard if he needs it.
2. He's ready to play inside, outside and as a punt returner: At his height, some have Jones pegged for a nickel corner role, but he played outside in college against some top-tier receivers in the SEC, and he feels he can do the same as a pro. "I don’t think there’s anywhere I can’t line up and be successful on the football field," he said. "I played outside most of my career at Alabama and I had success. I don’t think there’s any reason why I can’t line up on Sundays and do the same thing, so I feel as though I’m very confident that I can play on the outside." But Jones knows his special teams abilities may give him the best shot at consistent playing time as a rookie. "I returned punts in high school and I was pretty good at it," he said. "I just had that knack for just finding creases and being able to see where to cut at and I had good vision always. That ability just increased in college, and as I got more comfortable I started to have more success over time and I had my best year my senior year. I think, like you said, that’s going to be a big way for me to get on the field early next season."
3. He was a highly-recruited receiver coming out of high school: Jones grew up in Baltimore (yes, he was a Ravens fans) and attended Gilman School where he became a four-star recruit. He actually began his career for the Crimson Tide as a wideout, catching four passes for 51 yards as a true freshman. He transitioned to corner as a sophomore. "Coach Saban, you know, we were losing a couple of defensive backs after my freshman year and coach knew that I could play DB," he said. "He asked me, would I be willing to try it out for the spring time? I bought in and I just wanted to help the team in any way possible and it worked out for me and the team."
4. His nickname on social media is Clam Clampington: If you follow Twitter, you've already seen Jones' handle. It's not an alter ego, exactly, just a nickname given to him by one of his friends after he had a good game. "My best friend actually watched one of my games and I had a good game. I forget which game it was, and he said that I played so well that it looked like my name should be Clamp Clampington, and I just thought it was pretty hilarious at the time and kind of catchy. I ended up changing it on all my social media pages and it just went on from there."
5. He used to be teased by his Alabama coaches for being so into film study: "I love watching film," he said. "I used to get teased a lot at ‘Bama by my coaches saying I should have an office where their offices were because I was in the film room so much and up there almost just as much as they were. I love watching film and think that’s the key to becoming a better player. There are a lot of players in this league that have physical gifts and talent but you know working hard off the field, I think that’s what separates you."