5 things to know about Zay Jones

Posted Apr 28, 2017

With the 37th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bills select East Carolina WR Zay Jones! Here's five things to know about the newest Bill.

1 - His college position coach is on Bills staff
The man who was Jones’ receivers coach in his final collegiate season at East Carolina is Buffalo’s new receivers coach. Bills receivers coach Phil McGeoghan helped diversify Jones’ personal game by lining him up all over the field in his final season with the Pirates.

The results? Jones led the nation in receptions in 2016 with 158 catches. He ranked second in receiving yards with 1,746 yards. Jones also had eight touchdowns.

“I don’t think I’d be standing at this podium if it wasn’t for Coach Phil and the things that’s taught me and the way he’s translated me into being pro-ready,” Jones said at the NFL Combine. “So a great thank you to him. He’s going to be great at the Bills. I loved playing for a person like that and whoever he gets to coach will be lucky in the future.”

Little did Jones know that he’d be talking about himself.

2 - Catch king
With 399 career receptions in college, Jones is the NCAA all-time receptions leader.

“A lot of my friends tease me about not getting 400,” Jones said. “Still got the record. I’m happy with it. … You go back to all the drops that you had and you kind of pinpoint and be like, man, if only I would have caught that one.”

He claims to have the strongest hands in the draft class, and advanced statistics support his contention.

According to ProFootballFocus, Jones dropped only six of 164 catchable passes in 2016.


3 - NFL bloodlines
It’s not the first time that a Bills draft choice has a father that played in the NFL, but Jones’ NFL family tree goes a bit further.

His father, Robert Jones, was a linebacker who won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys and had a 10-year NFL career. His uncle is former Cincinnati Bengals QB Jeff Blake, and his older brother Cayleb is currently a receiver on the Minnesota Vikings.

“The Jones’ household was very competitive,” said Jones. “My younger brother thinks he’s the best. I think I’m the best. Cayleb thinks he’s the best. It’s fun. My dad holds the bragging rights right now because he went in the first round.

4 - Senior Bowl standout
Jones, who received an invite to the Senior Bowl, flat out dominated in the one-on-one drills in practice demonstrating his route running precision and ability to separate. In the game on Saturday that week, Jones had three touchdowns in the game.

Unfortunately one was incorrectly ruled incomplete in the back of the end zone, the other was called back on a holding penalty. He finished with six catches for 68 yards and a score in 16-15 win for the South Team.

5 - Zay is short for…
Jones nickname of Zay is short for Isaiah.

“I always have gone by Zay,” he said. “People have just called me Zay. Officially, I guess it got changed  (in the sports information guide at college) and I didn’t really know it did. I asked our marketing personnel. I said, ‘Hey, what if I went by Zay as an announcement for football?’ And then they changed it in the program, on the website and things like that.

“I said, ‘That’s not what I meant.’ But they did it. My mom called me Zay Zay ever since I was born, so that’s always been kind of my nickname, but I still love Isaiah. Isaiah is who I am. Zay is also who I am.”