Patriots select Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones with 60th pick in NFL draft

Alabama's Cyrus Jones celebrates with teammates after returning a punt for a 57-yard touchdown against Michigan State during the Cotton Bowl.
Alabama's Cyrus Jones celebrates with teammates after returning a punt for a 57-yard touchdown against Michigan State during the Cotton Bowl. –Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick has gone back to the SEC pipeline and tapped into his friendship with Nick Saban once again.

With their first pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the New England Patriots added Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones to their defense.

At 5-foot-10 and 197 pounds, Jones is of a similar size to Patriots cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan. He is also of a similar mold, with an ability to move inside and outside. On defense, Jones tallied seven interceptions and 25 pass break-ups in the past three years at Alabama.

He’s more than just a cornerback, though, and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock called him a “starting nickel (cornerback) with added value in the return game.” He returned 42 punts for 530 yards and four touchdowns, leading the nation in each of those categories.

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He might not be ready for a huge role on defense right away, but his special teams ability should help him find work while he continues to hone his cover skills. Between Jones, Butler, and Ryan, the Patriots now have three cornerbacks that can move around their secondary and line up in different spots.

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