Commanders Signed Caleb Williams’ Teammate After Draft

Caleb Williams and Austin Jones

The Washington Commanders signed a former teammate of No. 1 pick Caleb Williams after the 2024 NFL draft.

The Washington Commanders signed a teammate of No.1 overall draft pick Caleb Williams, running back Austin Jones, shortly after the 2024 NFL draft was in the books.

Jones’ arrival as an undrafted free agent was confirmed by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Former USC RB Austin Jones is signing with the #Commanders, per his agency @LAASportsEnt. A reunion with Kliff Kingsbury.

Jones starred with Williams, who was taken by the Chicago Bears, one pick before the Commanders selected Jayden Daniels, at USC. The versatile back also worked with Commanders’ offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury for the Trojans.

One more body for the backfield continues a necessary overhaul of Washington’s running back rotation. Jones will most likely find himself in competition with 2023 sixth-round draft pick Chris Rodriguez Jr.

Austin Jones Faces Tough Competition in New-Look Backfield

Changing things in the running game began with the Commanders letting Antonio Gibson walk in free agency. He joined the New England Patriots, leaving Washington’s offense without an expert receiver out of the backfield.

Jones could fill the niche role based on 105 receptions at the collegiate level, per Sports Reference. Of those catches, 67 were recorded at Stanford before Jones transferred to USC in 2022.

He did connect with Williams 13 times in 2023, including for this touchdown grab against Cal., highlighted by’s Scott Schrader.

TOUCHDOWN Austin Jones❕🙌🏼

#USC leads Cal 17-7 with 1:02 left in the 1st

🎥 @On3USC #FightOn✌🏼

As a runner, Jones average 5.2 yards per carry during his first season with Williams, then a career-high 5.6 in his final year on campus. Jones even managed to take some carries away from Marshawn Lloyd, who was drafted in the third round by the Green Bay Packers.

Part of Jones’ success can be attributed to a low centre of gravity and a tough running style. The latter was summed up by this helmet-less scamper from 2022, per Fox College Football.

Austin Jones has no fear 😳

His helmet gets ripped off and he continues to make his run

Jones faces an uphill battle for playing time in Washington, where veterans Austin Ekeler and Brian Robinson Jr. are naturally ahead of him. Yet, Jones could work his way in front of Rodriguez Jr., who looked like a potential breakout star before a season-ending ankle injury in December.

Finding the right battle to win this offseason will be key for all of the undrafted free agents signed by the Commanders.

Commanders Still Adding Talent After Draft

Jones is far from the only undrafted player to strike a deal with the Commanders. The franchise also added some company for Daniels in the QB room by signing former Notre Dame passer Sam Hartman.

He’ll be joined by ex-Texas Tech defensive back Tyler Owens. The physical safety was handed a “$20,000 signing bonus, $225,000 of base salary guaranteed for total guarantees of $245,000,” according to KPRC 2 Houston’s Aaron Wilson.

#Commanders sign safety Tyler Owens to undrafted free agent deal that includes $20,000 signing bonus, $225,000 of base salary guaranteed for total guarantees of $245,000, per a league source

Reshaping the roster was the priority for new general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn entering the draft. They succeeded by acquiring Daniels and smartly building around the potential franchise quarterback on both sides of the ball.

Jones, Hartman and Owens may not end up being part of that process, but their additions show the Commanders are leaving no stone unturned in the search for better athletes. Getting tougher and more dynamic in all three phases is how this revamped team will make some waves in the NFC East this year.

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