Cyrus Jones had the look of a Patriots cornerback long before he was picked with the No. 60 overall selection in the second round of this year's draft.
An SEC standout? Yup. A product of Nick Saban's Alabama defense? Even better. Special teams experience? He might be the best punt returner in this year's draft class with four returns for touchdowns in 2015.
Jones is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but he ticks off every other box that the Patriots could want in one of their defensive backs. He's a competitive player who has a physical edge at the line of scrimmage and isn't afraid to fire up field to chip in against the run. He can play press-man or zone, and his solid build (196 pounds) helps him knock receivers off of their routes.
Many believe that because of his physical style and his size that Jones will be limited to a role as a slot corner. But with good ball skills (he was a five-star recruit as a receiver coming out of high school) and solid top-end speed (he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at Alabama's pro day), he may be able to compete for a role on the outside.
Jones was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. The Patriots met with Jones multiple times during the pre-draft process, and must have felt comfortable enough with him as a person to take him with their first pick of the weekend.
The Patriots could use some depth at corner with Malcolm Butler (restricted free agent after 2016) and Logan Ryan (unrestricted free agent after 2016) not guaranteed to return after this season. Jones is a physical, competitive corner who has competed against upper-echelon opponents and isn't afraid to contribute in run support. He's also an accomplished return man, who has brought back four punts for touchdowns. He was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. If Jones looks like a good fit character-wise -- Belichick will surely get what he deems a trustworthy report from Alabama coach Nick Saban -- the Patriots could make him their choice. An offensive tackle could be the choice here, but there are long, intelligent players who could be had in the third round. Based on this mock, at least.