As the 2022 NFL Draft approaches, the Cincinnati Bengals got one last prospect visit in before the cutoff period. This time, another intriguing prospect from an ascending program was on their radar, as they met virtually with Coastal Carolina running back Shermari Jones.
Jones, a senior out of Pensacola, Florida leaves the Chanticleers after putting together a successful season and earning All Sun Belt Honors. Earning those honors while averaging 5.9 yards per carry, racking up 1,040 yards on the ground with 13 touchdowns, he may be on the radar for many teams as a Day 3 selection.
Jones spent his first two collegiate years and Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas, where you may have seen him on the popular Netflix show Last Chance U. After getting straightened out at the Junior College level, he caught on in Myrtle Beach and made the most of his senior season.
Jones had a successful Pro Day, with all 32 teams present to see. He clocked the 40 yard dash at a quick 4.55 seconds and completed the three-cone-drill in 7.52 seconds. With 20 reps of 225 pounds and a 33.5 inch vertical leap, Jones made the most of the moment and impressed the scouts who were in attendance.
“I’m hearing a lot of great things from scouts, showing them I have the speed to play at the NFL level,” Jones said. “It’s really special. I learned a lot. I feel like Coastal football is becoming bigger than we could even imagine, a lot of bright things in the future.”
The running back room in Cincinnati seems to be fairly set, but the speed and elusiveness of Jones could spark interest in him beginning his career as a return specialist, which is a position of question in Cincinnati.
The departure (and struggles) of Darius Phillips added to the injury to Brandon Wilson may have the Bengals in the market for a new kickoff and punt returner.