Zay Jones
refer to caption
Jones with the Oakland Raiders in 2019
No. 7 – Jacksonville Jaguars
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1995-03-30) March 30, 1995 (age 27)
Dallas, Texas
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Stephen F. Austin
(Austin, Texas)
College:East Carolina (2013–2016)
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
  • First Team All-American (2016)
  • First Team All-AAC (2016)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 4, 2022
Receptions:190
Receiving yards:2,097
Receiving average:10.8
Receiving touchdowns:12
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Isaiah Avery "Zay" Jones (born March 30, 1995) is an American football wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at East Carolina. Jones is the all-time NCAA Division I career receptions leader with 399 as well as the all-time NCAA Division I single-season receptions leader with 158.

Early years

Jones was born on March 30, 1995 in Dallas, Texas, the son of Robert Jones, a former football player who spent ten years in the NFL, and Maneesha Jones.[1][2] He has two brothers, Cayleb and Levi and his uncle is Jeff Blake.[3][4][5] Jones attended Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas.[6] He committed to East Carolina University to play college football.[7]

College career

Jones played in 13 games and made eight starts as a true freshman at East Carolina in 2013. He finished second on the team with 62 receptions for 604 yards and five touchdowns.[8] As a sophomore, he had 81 receptions for 830 yards and five touchdowns. As a junior, he recorded 98 receptions for 1,099 yards and five touchdowns.[9] During his senior season in 2016, he set a school record for receptions in a game with 22, breaking the previous record of 17 held by Justin Hardy[10] and then went on to break the school record for receptions in a season, also held by Hardy, nine games into the season. Subsequently, Jones became the NCAA Division I football all-time single season leader in receptions with 158 for the 2016 season, breaking the previous record of 155 set by wide receiver Freddie Barnes of Bowling Green in 2009.[11][12] Additionally, Jones became the NCAA Division I football career leader in receptions with 399, breaking the all-time NCAA record of 387 held by his former ECU Pirate teammate and future NFL receiver Justin Hardy.[13][14] Jones was also named as one of three finalists for the 2016 Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the nation's best receiver in college football.[15]

College statistics

Zay Jones
Season Team GP Rec Yds TD
2013 ECU 12 62 604 5
2014 ECU 13 81 830 5
2015 ECU 12 98 1,099 5
2016 ECU 12 158 1,746 8
Totals[16] 49 399 4,279 23

Professional career

Jones received an invitation to the Senior Bowl and had practiced well during the week leading up to the game. He led both teams and greatly improved his draft stock after making six receptions for 68 receiving yards and a touchdown for the North, who lost 16–15 to the South.[17] He also attended the NFL Combine and completed all the combine and positional drills. Jones also participated at East Carolina's Pro Day, but opted to only run positional drills for team representatives and scouts. The majority of NFL draft experts and analysts projected Jones to be selected in the second round. He was ranked the fourth best wide receiver in the draft by NFL media analyst Mike Mayock, the fifth best wide receiver by ESPN, and was ranked the sixth best wide receiver by Sports Illustrated and NFLDraftScout.com.[18][19][20]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 2+18 in
(1.88 m)
201 lb
(91 kg)
32+12 in
(0.83 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
4.45 s 1.55 s 2.61 s 4.01 s 6.79 s 36.5 in
(0.93 m)
11 ft 1 in
(3.38 m)
15 reps
All values from NFL Combine[21][22][23]

Buffalo Bills

2017

The Buffalo Bills selected Jones in the second round with the 37th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.[24] On May 18, the Bills signed Jones to a four-year, $6.77 million contract with $3.84 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $3.07 million.[25]

On September 10, 2017, Jones made his NFL debut. He had one reception for 21 yards in the 21–12 victory over the New York Jets.[26] On September 17, 2017, in Week 2, he barely missed on a potential game-winning pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor on fourth down late in the game of a 9–3 loss to the Carolina Panthers.[27] In Week 9, against the New York Jets, he recorded six receptions for 53 yards and his first career receiving touchdown.[28] In 15 games (10 starts) of his rookie year in 2017, Jones finished with 316 receiving yards and two touchdowns.[29]

Jones during the 2018 preseason
Jones during the 2018 preseason

2018

Following his rookie season, Jones revealed he had played much of the year with a torn labrum in the shoulder, which required offseason surgery. Jones missed much of OTA's during the 2018 offseason due to another injury stemming from an offseason incident and started training camp on the non-football injury list.[30]

Jones showed improvement early in the season as his catch percentage rose significantly from his rookie season despite a low-volume passing offense.[31] He caught a 57-yard pass from rookie quarterback Josh Allen in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers that was his new personal record for his longest reception. The pass traveled 63.8 yards in the air, which was also the second longest air distance for a completed pass ever recorded by NFL NextGen Stats since its inception.[32] Jones recorded his first touchdown of the season against the Houston Texans, a 16-yard pass from Nathan Peterman (who entered the game after Allen was injured), that briefly gave the Bills the lead.[33]

Against the New York Jets in Week 10, Jones caught another touchdown to go with 93 receiving yards, a new career high.[34] He recorded his first game with multiple receiving touchdowns two games later, catching two scores in a 21–17 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 13.[35]

Jones finished the 2018 season as Buffalo's leading receiver after the team released Kelvin Benjamin. He caught 56 receptions for 652 yards and seven touchdowns.[36][37]

Oakland / Las Vegas Raiders

2019 season

On October 7, 2019, Jones was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a 2021 fifth-round pick.[38]

2020 season

During the Raiders' first home game in Allegiant Stadium upon relocating to Las Vegas, Jones caught his first touchdown since 2018 in a 34–24 Raiders win over the New Orleans Saints.[39] Jones was fined US$15,000 by the NFL on October 5, 2020, for attending a maskless charity event hosted by teammate Darren Waller during the COVID-19 pandemic in violation of the NFL's COVID-19 protocols for the 2020 season.[40]

2021 season

On March 19, 2021, Jones re-signed with the Raiders on a one-year contract.[41] During Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, Jones recorded two receptions for 46 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown to end the game as the Raiders won 33–27 in overtime.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jones playing against the Washington Commanders in 2022.
Jones playing against the Washington Commanders in 2022.

On March 16, 2022, Jones signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.[42]

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Receiving
GP GS Tgt Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
2017 BUF 15 10 74 27 316 11.7 33 2
2018 BUF 16 15 102 56 652 11.6 57 7
2019 BUF 5 2 18 7 69 9.9 23 0
OAK 10 7 27 20 147 7.4 16 0
2020 LV 16 2 20 14 154 11.0 37 1
2021 LV 17 9 70 47 546 11.6 43 1
Career 62 36 241 124 1,338 10.6 57 11

Legal troubles

On March 21, 2018, Jones was arrested in Los Angeles for suspicion of felony vandalism. Jones was involved in an altercation with his older brother, NFL player Cayleb Jones, on the 30th floor of an apartment building. Zay Jones allegedly smashed a window, resulting in cuts on his foot and blood all along the walls, and tried to jump out the 30th floor window, but Cayleb and police prevented it.[43]

References

  1. ^ "Robert Jones Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "Zay Jones' NFL debut against his brother is a dream come true". Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "Zay Jones". NFL.com. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  4. ^ Murschel, Matt. "ECU receiver Isaiah Jones says football-focused family fuels his success". Orlando Sentinel.
  5. ^ "Keeping Up With The Joneses". 247Sports. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Wagner, Bill. "Overlooked out of high school, Jones on verge of major milestone". capitalgazette.com. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Isaiah Jones picks ECU". ESPN.com. August 6, 2012.
  8. ^ "2013 East Carolina Pirates Stats". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  9. ^ "Jones in game mode – Daily Reflector". reflector.com.
  10. ^ "ECU's Jones 'phenomenal' in record-setting receiving effort". NSJ Online.
  11. ^ "With another record, ECU's Zay Jones is NCAA's most prolific receiver". Yahoo! Sports.
  12. ^ "Jones, ECU still motivated – Daily Reflector". reflector.com.
  13. ^ "With another record, ECU's Zay Jones is NCAA's most prolific receiver". Yahoo.com. November 26, 2016.
  14. ^ Uthman, Daniel (November 21, 2016). "Five-way WR: How ECU's Zay Jones became the all-time receptions leader". USAToday.com.
  15. ^ "Zay Jones named one of three finalists for Biletnikoff Award".
  16. ^ "Isaiah Jones College Stats - College Football at Sports-Reference.com".
  17. ^ Goodbread, Chase (January 28, 2017). "What we learned from Senior Bowl: Zay Jones boosts draft stock". NFL.com. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  18. ^ Burke, Chris (April 25, 2017). "2017 NFL Draft Rankings: Top Prospects by Position". si.com. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  19. ^ Legwold, Jeff (April 22, 2017). "Ranking the 2017 Draft's Top 100 Prospects". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  20. ^ Mike Mayock (April 12, 2017). "Mike Mayock's 2017 NFL Draft position rankings 3.0". NFL.com. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  21. ^ "NFL Draft Profile: Zay Jones". NFL.com. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  22. ^ "2017 Draft Scout Zay Jones, East Carolina NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". draftscout.com. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  23. ^ "Zay Jones 2017 NFL Draft Profile". insider.espn.com. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  24. ^ Sambrotto, Anthony (April 28, 2017). "Bills snare a catch king in WR Zay Jones". BuffaloBills.com. Archived from the original on April 18, 2018.
  25. ^ "Spotrac.com: Zay Jones contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  26. ^ "New York Jets at Buffalo Bills – September 10th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  27. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers – September 17th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  28. ^ "Buffalo Bills at New York Jets – November 2nd, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  29. ^ Roth, Leo (July 25, 2018). "Bills place receiver Zay Jones on active/non-football injury list on eve of camp". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  30. ^ Roth, Leo (July 25, 2018). "Bills place receiver Zay Jones on active/non-football injury list on eve of camp". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  31. ^ "Zay Jones". PlayerProfiler.com. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  32. ^ Rodak, Mike (September 16, 2018). "Josh Allen can't save Bills in loss to Chargers". ESPN. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  33. ^ Miller, Ryan C. (October 14, 2018). "Josh Allen injures elbow and Buffalo turns to Nathan Peterman, who throws pick-six in loss". Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  34. ^ Brooks, Clint (November 13, 2018). "PFF pegs Zay Jones among offensive standouts in Week 10". Bills Wire. USA Today Sports. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  35. ^ "Bills' Zay Jones: Thrives in narrow road loss". CBS Sports. December 2, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  36. ^ Leipold, Mark (January 1, 2019). "Zay Jones scores twice in season finale". FantasyPros. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  37. ^ "Zay Jones". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  38. ^ Scott, Jelani (October 7, 2019). "Bills deal WR Zay Jones to Raiders for 2021 pick". NFL.com. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  39. ^ White, Marcus (September 21, 2020). "Jones' hand sanitizer celebration epitomizes absurdity of 2020". RSN. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  40. ^ Dubow, Josh (October 5, 2020). "AP source: 10 Raiders players fined for COVID-19 violations". APNews.com. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  41. ^ Raiders Public Relations (March 19, 2021). "Raiders re-sign WR Zay Jones". Raiders.com. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  42. ^ Oehser, John (March 16, 2022). "Official: Jones agrees to terms". Jaguars.com. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  43. ^ Cancian, Dan (March 21, 2018). "Buffalo Bills WR Zay Jones arrested after naked struggle with brother in Los Angeles". Newsweek. Retrieved March 21, 2018.