Houston cornerback Marcus Jones has a pre-draft visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers this month. That’s according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, who tweeted out the long list of teams Jones is meeting with prior to late April’s draft.
As his tweet notes, Jones is recovering from surgery on both his shoulders, which caused him to be unable to workout during the Cougars’ Pro Day Friday. He told reporters he showed up to the workout to support his teammates. He also said he expects to be medically cleared by training camp.
The Steelers only had one personnel member at today’s Pro Day, scout Mark Gorscak, but the pre-draft visit may have lessened the need to send additional people there. Jones being unable to workout also likely played a role, too.
Jones is one of the most versatile and intriguing players in the draft. Standing at just 5’8, 185 pounds, he’s a plus athlete with high production as a cornerback and as a returner. In 2021, he picked off five passes in 13 games while chipping in 47 total tackles. He picked off nine passes in his Cougars’ career. He owns six career kick return touchdowns and three more on punts, including four total in 2021 (two kicks, two punts). He spent his first two years at Troy before transferring to Houston. Pittsburgh rarely uses defensive players in the return game but Jones has about as impressive of a resume as you’re going to find. As a senior, Jones even chipped in at receiver, catching ten passes with one touchdown.
In our player profile, our Jonathan Heitritter concluded by writing:
“His competitiveness to challenge receivers while staying sticky in coverage and having the traits to be a ballhawk, Jones should be a sought-after commodity for all that he provides a team outside of his dynamic return ability and the little he has shown as a receiver on occasion at Houston. Pittsburgh is still looking for a suitable replacement for Mike Hilton at the nickel after signing with Cincinnati, and given Jones’s play style, ability to take the football away, and also what he could provide Danny Smith on special teams, Jones should be a player high on the Steelers’ radar come the 2022 NFL Draft as a great value selection in the middle rounds.”
Jones is one of the few pre-draft visitors known to be visiting Pittsburgh. NFL Mock Draft Database lists him as a third-round pick though his shoulder surgery may complicate his draft stock. It may also be one reason why the Steelers are bringing him in for a visit. But pre-pandemic, the Steelers were good for drafting at least one player off their “Top 30” list so Jones visit is an important one.
Check out an interview with Jones below along with our full draft profile.