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2011 49ers Grades: Colin Jones

There are really no arguments at this point about how awesome the 49ers special teams units were in 2011. The return and coverage units both put together exceptional seasons that allowed the 49ers to dominate the field position battle. The coverage units are often a fairly under the radar group, but the 49ers unit gained a bit of fame thanks to the use of Future's "Tony Montana" as a sort of special teams theme song.

One of the important special teamer was Colin Jones. The 49ers drafted the TCU safety in the sixth round, leaving some folks scratching their heads. I don't think anybody really "hated" the pick, but initially it was difficult to make much of it. In reality, Jones was selected for a fairly limited task: special teams. Although he played safety in college, the 49ers appear to have no intention of moving him to safety in the near future.

Jones was on the 53-man roster to start the season, but was waived and sent to the practice squad after week one. He returned to the 53-man roster i early October after Will Tukuafu went down with a wrist injury. It took some time to get used to the speed of the game as there were times Jones was over-shooting the ball carrier. By season's end, however, Jones was just as important a special teams contributor as anybody else on those coverage units.

While many draft picks are drafted with fairly broad expectations, Jones was drafted with a very specific role in mind. The selection of Jones was very much like the decision to sign Blake Costanzo, and both moves paid significant dividends. There has been no indication that the 49ers intend to consider him as a safety option in the future. I would think he might get some reps in OTAs and training camp, but barring a huge breakthrough, I would suspect he will remain a special teams staple over the course of his four year contract. For a sixth round pick, that is not the worst value in the world.