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20 most important Patriots in 2017: No. 17, Cyrus Jones

Ryan Hannable
June 29, 2017 - 12:46 pm

With training camp approaching, we’re having a series featuring the 20 most important Patriots players for the upcoming season. The countdown will continue through July 24, the week training camp begins.

No. 17: Cyrus Jones

Position: Cornerback

2016 stats: 3 tackles, 5 fumbles, 10 games played

Why he’s No. 17: Jones is way more important to the success of the 2017 Patriots than people think. The second-year corner had a miserable rookie season having major issues when it came to special teams, and confidence issues led to him being inactive for most of the games at the end of the season, including the playoffs. This is a new year though, and with Logan Ryan no longer in New England, Jones has an opportunity to step up and solidity the defense as the No. 1 slot corner. Clearly, he has talent as a second-round pick out of Alabama, he just needs to show it on the field.

He’s even more important if he can put his struggles catching punts behind him. Jones will likely be asked to return punts again to keep Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola out of harms way. Some people will ask, why is he so important, the Patriots won the Super Bowl last year. Well, what if he can’t get it done? Things aren’t much better behind him on the depth chart, as Eric Rowe isn’t really built to play the slot and after that it’s Jonathan Jones, who is more of a special teamer, and Justin Coleman. If Jones has a good season, the Patriots’ secondary would be exceptional. If he doesn’t, they become vulnerable in the passing game. Additionally, what if Edelman or Amendola are forced into return duties and get hurt? This is why it’s so critical Jones can return punts to take the pressure off those veteran receivers.