The Tennessee Titans signed a number of undrafted free agents at the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft. Appalachian State cornerback Steven Jones Jr. is one of those defenders. Jordan Raanan first reported the news.
Appalachian State CB Steven Jones Jr. is signing with the Titans, per source. #NFLDraft— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) April 29, 2023
Jones Jr. captured interest throughout the pre-draft process with a standout showing at this year’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Jones Jr. recorded two interceptions throughout a strong week of practice. The Titans took notice.
Jones Jr. racked up a number of accolades throughout his tenure at Appalachian State. Jones Jr. was named a 2021 first-team All-American. The Rockingham, North Carolina native was a two-time All-Sun Belt defender (first team in 2021, second team in 2022). Jones Jr. appeared in 64 total contests with 27 starts.
Jones Jr. recorded seven career interceptions, including five takeaways during a breakout 2021 campaign. Jones Jr. routinely flashed a knack for the football, having totaled 34 passes defended, including 28 over his final two seasons. Jones Jr. returned four interceptions for pick-six touchdowns.
Jones Jr. wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but he did test at Appalachian State’s Pro Day. The 5-foot-9, 188 pound Jones Jr. ran the 40-yard dash in an acceptable 4.51 seconds with an impressive 2.44 20-yard split.
The majority of Jones Jr.’s testing numbers were average to disappointing, however. Jones Jr. leaped a 35-inch vertical and 10-foot-4 broad jump. Jones Jr. ran the 3-cone in a poor 7.51 seconds, and the shuttle in 4.38 seconds. Jones Jr.’s testing results led to a Relative Athletic Score of 4.51.
Steven Jones Jr. is a CB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 4.51 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 1215 out of 2212 CB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/S4jyhpfyrS pic.twitter.com/NXZqUsmyLC— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 15, 2023
Jones Jr. joins a crowded cornerback room that’s still being defined. Kristian Fulton is Tennessee’s No. 1 cornerback on the boundary. Roger McCreary and Sean Murphy-Bunting should round out the group in nickel sets. Both McCreary and Murphy-Bunting possess inside-outside versatility.
Elijah Molden is also on the roster and will contend for snaps at nickel when healthy. Former first-round bust Caleb Farley isn’t guaranteed to make the 53-man roster. Tre Avery is a sophomore UDFA who earned playing time as a rookie. The Titans didn’t select a cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Jones Jr. lacks the size necessary to play the boundary. It likely makes him a nickel-only defender, where the Titans already have McCreary, Molden and Murphy-Bunting vying for playing time. Jones Jr. will need to enjoy an excellent summer to contend in Tennessee.