Tennessee's Mark Jones played nearly 700 total snaps in 2003, appearing on offense, defense and special teams
In the seventh round of the NFL Draft, teams often select a player who excels in one specific area, hoping he can be developed into a more well-rounded contributor. On Sunday, the Bucs went in the opposite direction with their first of three seventh-round selections, drafting an extremely versatile player in Tennessee WR/S Mark Jones.
Jones (5-9, 185) started four games at safety in 2002, then opened every game as a receiver in 2003, though he still contributed on defense and special teams as a senior. In all, Jones played 662 total snaps last fall, including 384 on offense, 208 on defense and 70 on special teams.
Jones' career receiving totals include 36 receptions for 556 yards (15.4 avg.) and five touchdowns. He also finished his Volunteer stay with 116 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, four interceptions and 10 passes defensed.
That's not all. Jones also returned punts and kickoffs as a Volunteer, particularly the former. His stat line thus includes 46 punt returns for 543 yards (11.8 avg.) and one touchdown and four kickoff returns for 138 yards (34.5 avg.).
The first game of the 2003 season, Jones' first start as a receiver, highlighted his impressive versatility. In that Tennessee win over Fresno State, Jones had a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return in the first quarter, forced an intentional grounding call with a blitz in the second quarter, made an open-field tackle on third down in the third quarter and returned a punt 29 yards to set up UT's final score in the fourth quarter.
All of Jones' receiving statistics came during his senior year, and they were highlighted by a 90-yard receptions against Georgia in which he wrestled the ball away from a defender, kept his feet and ran untouched to the end zone.
A native of Wallingford, Pennsylvania, Jones is the second receiver taken by the Buccaneers during the 2004 draft. The team spent its first-round pick, the 15th selection overall, on LSU WR Michael Clayton.
The Bucs have two picks remaining in the seventh round, number 228 and number 252.