Chicago Bears WR Darnell Mooney praises rookie Velus Jones Jr.

Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (1) runs the ball at the 2021 Music City Bowl NCAA college football game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021.Kns Tennessee Purdue
Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (1) runs the ball at the 2021 Music City Bowl NCAA college football game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021.Kns Tennessee Purdue /

While many analysts around the league criticized Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles for drafting Velus Jones Jr so high, Darnell Mooney feels the rookie is a playmaker.

When Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles took over this offseason, he inherited a mess from the previous regime. He had bloated contracts that kept him from making moves and limited salary cap space to sign top-notch players. In addition, he didn’t have very many draft picks.

Well, Poles got rid of some of the contracts, added to the salary cap, and went from five draft picks to 11.

Having all those draft picks is great, but the key is to hit on a few of them. Using his two second-round picks on Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker seemed like very good moves. However, Poles’ choice in the third round caused controversy.

Poles went with Velus Jones Jr. The first thing you notice when you see his film is his speed. His speed is otherworldly. He could be a big-play touchdown at any moment of the game.

Additionally, he is an elite returner who could do a great job of giving the team easy touchdowns or at least great field position with his big runs.

So why the controversy? Well, for starters, he ran a limited route tree. With his speed, he was mostly used to going deep and outrunning the defense. Also, he ran slants so he could get the ball quickly and, again, outrun everyone.

Another concern is that Jones Jr played six seasons in college and his best season was in 2021 when he had 807 yards and 7 touchdowns. The fact that for his career he had more returns (140) than receptions (120) didn’t help his cause.

Many draft people had Jones Jr going at best in the fifth round. Seeing him go in the third raised some eyebrows.

We have yet to see how offensive coordinator Luke Getsy

will use Jones Jr. One idea is to have him play the role that Deebo Samuel has with the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners use Samuel deep, short, and even from the backfield.

Knowing Samuel can create a big play anytime he has the ball in his hands, San Francisco tries to give it to him in a variety of ways.

That could be a similar recipe for success with Jones Jr. In the meantime, we can only guess and hope things work out with Jones Jr and this offense.

There are people in the organization who already like what they’ve seen from Jones Jr. One of them is WR1, Darnell Mooney. Mooney has been impressed with what the rookie is doing and feels people will be pleasantly surprised when they see him as well.

"One guy, Velus, man. When he gets the ball, y’all are going to see. He can fly. He can be a playmaker for sure for us.Darnell Mooney (via NBC)"

Mooney is the undisputed WR1 for the Bears this season. He led the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards, eclipsing 1,055 yards in his second season.

However, the Bears need someone else to play well or else Mooney will be overwhelmed with double-teams all season long.

The Chicago Bears signed Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, Tajae Sharpe, and Dante Pettis to help. They hope Jones Jr can contribute right away.

Getsy himself agrees with Mooney.

"He can handle this league, you can see that already. Then, the speed just jumped at you on the tape. When that guy gets the ball in his hands, he looks like 4.3 on the field. Not many guys can do that, and I think that is what stood out about this guy. He has a chance to score every time he touches the ball.Luke Getsy (via NBC)"

With that statement above you have to feel that Getsy will borrow heavily from San Francisco’s plan with Samuel. The more Jones Jr. can touch the ball the higher the chances of him breaking a big play.

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Let’s hope that Jones Jr. does do what the Chicago Bears feel he can do. If he does, it bodes well for the team’s rebuild going forward.