New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

As the Patriots look for ways to get more explosive on offense this offseason, some fans have wondered if the player to answer that question is already on the roster. Last season, rookie cornerback Marcus Jones moonlighted on offense, catching all four targets that came his way for a total of 78 yards and touchdown. Between his limited time on the offensive side of the ball (18 snaps total), and seeing him as a ball carrier in kick and punt return situations, it became clear he can be a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands.

That leads to the question of whether or not the Patriots should consider moving Jones – who also played receiver part-time in college – to the offensive side of the ball full-time. On one hand, it’s not like Jones played poorly as a cornerback – he actually exceeded expectations on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Given this would be a major positional change – switching sides of the ball isn’t quite the same as moving from cornerback to safety or wide receiver to tight end – Jones’ own opinion on the matter should hold weight as well. Appearing on Good Morning Football on Wednesday, Jones weighed in on the matter.

  • “I’m always a defensive back. That’s the first thing,” Jones told Mike Giardi. “Anywhere that’s needed for the team, I’m definitely down for it. but I’m a defensive back first.”

    This quote adds to the number of reasons fans hoping to see Jones make the switch to wide receiver should temper their expectations. While Jones certainly looked impactful on offense, he ran a very limited route tree. Mastering full route responsibilities would be a much more expansive process, one that he may complete eventually but would be a tough ask for what will be asked of the role in 2023.

    Given Jones’ upside at the cornerback position, it makes much more sense to focus on his development there. That doesn’t mean they can’t still have a limited package for him on offense (or as a returner) but that role will probably only get as expansive as it was late last season.

    Still, that doesn’t mean the Patriots won’t need a new slot receiver next year. Expect them to be in the market for one in free agency and/or the draft in the coming months. It’s still a role they have to fill, but it’s not going to be as easy as having a player change positions.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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