Notre Dame football: New Orleans Saints sign Tony Jones Jr.

Tony Jones Jr. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Tony Jones Jr. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints have signed former Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. to a contract after he became an undrafted free agent.

After an excellent season in which running back Tony Jones Jr. was in contention for the Most Valuable Player for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, along with players such as Chase Claypool and Cole Kmet, he opted to forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

Following the season, Jones was one of nine Notre Dame players to be invited to participate in the NFL Combine. Prior to the combine, Jones was considered a player who was likely to be drafted in the late rounds of the draft.

However, Jones would have a subpar performance at the combine that would hurt his draft stock. He had hoped to be able to rejuvenate his draft status via the Notre Dame Pro Day in March. Unfortunately, the Notre Dame Pro Day was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Jones was forced to go on game film and his combine performances.

The game film from Jones was strong, as he exhibited strong character, leadership, a high football IQ, excellent ball security skills, receiving skills, and blocking skills, in addition to what he brought to the Notre Dame run game. However, he fell victim to a bit of recency bias, as NFL scouts appear to have put a great deal of stock in his NFL Combine performance.

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As a result, Jones would go undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite not being drafted, Jones was signed by the New Orleans Saints soon after the draft concluded. Tony Jones Jr. has a legitimate chance of making the Saints roster as a backup running back due to the skills mentioned previously. He would also likely serve as a special teams contributor early on.