When NFL teams trimmed their rosters to 53 back in early September, one of the players who failed to make the Patriots final cut was Cyrus Jones, a Baltimore native, Gilman grad and product of the University of Alabama.
Jones was drafted by the Patriots with the 60th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Mike Mayock once described Jones as “a starting nickel corner with added value in the return game. Atypical of corners, he has great ball skills. He is a well-coached, technique-sound player.”
This September the Ravens claimed Jones off waivers and signed him to their practice squad. The move made sense. Jones was coming home.
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The move seemed to make even more sense when cornerback Maurice Canady was placed on injured reserve. Canady’s IR designation screamed for Jones to be promoted from the practice squad. It would restore depth to the secondary and provide another return specialist option, an important bonus given the struggles of Janarion Grant who has fumbled a punt in each of his first two NFL games.
But it didn’t happen. Instead, the Ravens were asleep at the switch, something you could never accuse Patriots head coach Bill Belichick of. The hoodie swooped in and plucked Jones off the Ravens practice squad and now Jones is among those on the Patriots 53-man roster.
Jones’ progress will be worth watching. Let’s see how he fills in at nickel at the Big Razor. Let’s see how he factors into New England’s return game. And then let’s compare his accomplishments to those of Grant and the great Makinton Dorleant, a former 2016 undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa, who the Ravens just signed to fill the practice squad spot vacated by Jones.
The bouncing back and forth of a player between the roster of the Ravens and a rival stirred up memories of another player who ping-ponged between the Ravens and the Steelers. He became the Steelers all-time sack leader.