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2022 NFL Draft: How teams weigh off-field issues will impact Arizona State cornerback Jack Jones' stock

Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Jack Jones (0) tackles Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Jamarye Joiner at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State cornerback Jack Jones made a mistake nearly four years ago. He has paid for it, and he’s hoping it won’t stay with him throughout the rest of his playing career.

But as Jones continues to prepare for his NFL career and the 2022 NFL Draft, that’s no guarantee. 

Teams consider off-field issues on a case-by-case basis, according to multiple sources around the NFL. It's an inexact science made up of an equation combining the severity of issues, whether or not a team believes those issues were isolated incidents and, of course, the overall talent and upside of the player. 

It’s difficult to say definitively whether or not Jones will hear his name called on draft day, which is why he and his agent, Jamal Tooson, have been proactive in the process of addressing the incident that eventually landed the cornerback with the Sun Devils.

After being dismissed from USC for academic issues, Jones — initially a five-star recruit out of Long Beach Poly — was arrested and charged with commercial burglary and felony conspiracy to commit a crime after breaking into a Panda Express in June 2018. The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor, and he was placed on probation. After a year at Moorpark College to work on his grades, Jones returned to the Pac-12 and resumed his college football career at Arizona State.

Tooson sent a letter to all 32 NFL teams on behalf of Jones addressing the 2018 arrest and outlining the talented cornerback’s plan for the future. PFF acquired the letter, which in part further detailed the incident. Tooson, who was Jones’ lawyer in the case, informed teams that the break-in happened after the restaurant was closed when no employees or customers were present and did not involve a weapon.

The letter also stated that Jones, who was suspended during the 2020 season for an altercation with a teammate but was permitted to return to the team in 2021, went on to enroll in anger management counseling in December 2021 and plans to continue seeking help for his mental health in the city in which he’s drafted.

“He will be taking full advantage of his NFL team’s internal support services and residing in close proximity to the team’s practice facility,” the letter concluded.

Scouts rave about Jones’ talent on the field. “He’s legit,” one scout told PFF. “A true cover corner.”

Another noted Jones' “baggage,” but the cornerback is widely acknowledged as a talented player.

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