The Denver Broncos could really utilize another Offensive Lineman. Both Center J.D. Walton and Right Guard Chris Kuper lost significant time due to injuries in 2012 and while Manny Ramirez pulled it together after about 3 games of struggling, an upgrade would be valuable.
An attractive candidate for the job is Barrett Jones out of Alabama. Jones is a 6’4", 305 lb. prospect who can play all 5 positions on the Offensive Line. At a high level. He is ranked 52nd overall and 1st out of 98 Center prospects across the nation. Barrett is expected to be drafted in the 2nd round come April and has a pre-Combine 40 Time of 5.43 seconds.
#75 Barrett Jones
Born May 25, 1990 (age 22)
Noted for his versatility, Jones started three BCS National Championship Games (2010, 2012, 2013) all at different positions along the offensive line. Following the 2011 season, Jones was recognized as a consensus All-American, and won the Outland Trophy for the best lineman in college football. After another All-American season in 2012, he won the Rimington Trophy for the best center. Jones is eligible in the 2013 NFL Draft and is considered one of the best offensive linemen of his class.
After redshirting his initial year at Alabama, Jones started all 14 games for Alabama's 2009 national championship team at right guard. In his junior season, because of team needs, he switched from guard to left tackle where he started all 13 games for another Alabama national championship team. Following his 2011 junior season, he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American. He was the winner of the 2011 Outland Trophy given to the best lineman in college football. In his senior year, again because of team needs, he switched from tackle to center. He started every game at center for the team that won another National Championship in 2012. He did not receive a second Outland Trophy but won the Rimington Trophy given each year to the outstanding college center becoming only the 2nd person in history to win both an Outland and a Rimington. He is the only person to win an Outland and a Remington at two different positions or in two different years. Barrett Jones ended his Alabama career winning 3 BCS National Championships—each Championship at a different position—as an All American guard, an All American right tackle and an All American center.
Off the field, he has earned a degree in accounting graduating summa cum laude in August 2011 with a 4.0 grade point average. He is graduated in December 2012 with his masters again maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Jones won the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, an award given by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to college football's "best and brightest." He is a 2010 and 2011 Academic All-American and in 2012, he earned distinction as the Football Academic All-America Team Member of the Year. He received the 2011 ARA Sportsmanship Award and 2011 Wuerffel Trophy for combined athletic, academic and community service achievement. On December 6, 2012, Jones was awarded the Rimington Trophy as the best center in college football.
Jones suffered a serious foot injury in the first quarter of the SEC Championship game but played the entire game so well that his teammates did not even know he had been injured. Even with the injury, in the BCS Championship game 4 weeks later, Jones earned praise for handling Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III mostly by himself, giving left guard Chance Warmack the freedom to maneuver downfield to block Fighting Irish linebackers for Eddie Lacy and T. J. Yeldon. After the game, he announced that he had a Lisfranc injury of the left foot with at least 2 torn ligaments. He was scheduled for surgery immediately upon returning home to Alabama. After surgery, he will be out for 3-4 months and will be unable to participate in the NFL combine.
GRADE - 85.1
The key to Barrett Jones’ lengthy career at Alabama has been versatility. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has compared the four year starter to NFL great Bruce Matthews, who famously played all five offensive line positions in the NFL. Jones, too, played all five offensive line positions during his four years starting at Alabama. The medical redshirt was made necessary by an injury to his right shoulder three games into his first year on campus. He then started all 14 contests at right guard as a redshirt freshman for Nick Saban's first BCS champion Tide squad in 2009. For his redshirt sophomore season, Jones earned third-team All-American honors from the Associated Press, as well as first-team All-SEC mention from league media for his play as a sophomore. He started 11 games that year, missing the final two regular season contests with a high ankle sprain. He earned third-team All-American honors from the Associated Press, as well as first-team All-SEC mention from league media for his play as a sophomore. He started 11 games that year, missing the final two regular season contests with a high ankle sprain.
Jones made the rare switch from right guard to left tackle in 2011 to replace James Carpenter, a first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks. He handled the transition so well (while also playing left guard, right tackle and center at times) for the Bowl Championship Series champions that he received the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best "interior lineman" as well as the SEC’s Jacob Blocking Trophy, given to the league’s best lineman. He also possesses the intelligence and high character NFL offensive line coaches desire in their prospects, finishing his degree in accounting in just three years, and won the Wuerffel Trophy for his play on the field and work in the academic and community service worlds.
His final year on campus featured another move, this time to the center position. He capped the year off with another consensus selection to the All-American and All-SEC teams, as well as winning the Rimington Trophy (awarded to the nation’s top center), despite a Lisfranc injury limiting his mobility over the second half of the season.
STRENGTHS Possesses NFL size for an interior player. Solid pass protector whether playing inside or outside, plays with a wide base, mirrors and anchors effectively by keeping his feet moving and extends his arms to stay engaged. Good hip extension in the run game. Gets correct angle to create running lane when blocking on the move, can also create space inside by moving his man out of the hole using his hands and bulk. Able to seal the tackle and then work to linebackers close to the line on combo blocks. Can reach the 3-technique defensive tackle from the center spot. Fits on second-level blocks very well in the run game. Very good football and general intelligence. Great awareness of late blitzers and twist stunts, and he gives excellent effort to reach free rushers so his quarterback stays upright.
WEAKNESSES Limited athlete who will be at his best on the inside at the next level. Tends to stop his feet and lunge at pass rushers on the edge. Top-heavy, upright runner on pulls without great foot speed. Gets to the second level well, but can struggle tracking and adjusting to moving targets. Quicker linebackers and defensive backs jump around his lunges if he is unable to get his hands on their numbers. Inconsistent firing out of his stance and staying low on short-yardage plays. Hand placement improved in his senior season, but he has soft hands with a limp punch. Doesn’t play with a mean streak. Can get complacent and will fight for initial position, but doesn’t finish blocks and allows his man to disengage too often. Prone to making his initial block and then ball-watching instead of finding a second target. Has a lengthy injury history (but shows the toughness to play through them) and will need to check out medically.
NFL COMPARISON Daryn Colledge
BOTTOM LINE 2012 Rimington and 2011 Outland Trophy winner has played every spot on the line while helping the Tide win three BCS championships in the last four years. Has spent most of his time on the interior, which is where he projects best in the NFL. While not the strongest or most athletic lineman, Jones’ versatility, intelligence and high character should get him penciled in at guard or center for the next decade in the NFL.
Rarely does a technically-refined offensive lineman earn top billing at a university with such tradition of producing flashy athletes at virtually every position, but in the case of do-everything Jones, the honor is well deserved.
Since redshirting for the Tide in 2008, Jones has simply started 49 of the past 53 games, earning action at right guard (25 starts), center (14) left tackle (10).
Despite earning first-team All-SEC honors (and third-team All-American accolades by the Associated Press) in 2010 while at right guard, Jones was asked to move to the all-important blind-side tackle position in 2011 and starred there. He earned the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman as well as the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (SEC's top offensive lineman) and was a consensus All-American.
Coach Nick Saban moved his top lineman once again in 2012; this time to the center position, where the same intelligence, quickness, balance and surprising anchor Jones demonstrated at guard and tackle translated well.
Jones started all 14 games of Alabama's run to its third national title in fourth year. He was again a consensus All-American and first-team All-SEC performer. He closed out his career with a strong performance against Notre Dame despite playing with torn ligaments in his left foot suffered during the SEC Championship Game.
Jones also won the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy recognizing the "absolute best scholar-athlete" in the nation. He was the first Crimson Tide player to capture the award.
Whether at tackle, guard or center, Jones has demonstrated that he's dependable against the elite competition in college football. Head coach Nick Saban has said on many occasions that Jones is one of the top players he's ever been around and has compared the 2011 Outland Trophy (nation's top interior lineman) to Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Considering his versatility and dependability (not to mention his coach's impressive recommendation), Jones quietly ranks among the safest prospects in the draft.
STRENGTHS: Jones is typically characterized as a try-hard player who gets by with excellent fundamentals, and it is true that he uses his hands and feet very well to consistently defeat his opponent. However, while he isn't likely to cause anyone to compare his raw athleticism to former first round offensive tackles Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys, No. 9, 2011) or Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers, No. 28, 2007), Jones is smooth and efficient when easing back at the snap in pass protection or getting to the second level. He latches on and keeps his feet moving on contact, rarely allowing his opponent to make the play even if he's relatively close to the ballcarrier.
WEAKNESSES: Doesn't blow defenders off the ball with pure strength. Not a flashy athlete and may struggle to excel at the NFL level.
COMPARES TO: Bruce Matthews, OL, ex-Oilers/Titan -- Alabama coach Nick Saban has publicly compared Jones to the Hall of Famer Matthews, who saw action at all five positions during his 19 years with the Houston Oilers (and Tennessee Titans), and whom Saban saw up close when coaching defensive backs in Houston from 1988-1989.--Rob Rang
Charlie Campbell from Walter Football
A smart and versatile Lineman, Jones excelled at Guard, Tackle and Center for the Crimson Tide. He is an excellent technician. His hand placement and knee bend are picture perfect. There is no doubt that Jones has done a superb job of developing his technique. He has honed it in practice while going up against many future NFL linemen like Courtney Upshaw, Josh Chapman, Jesse Williams and Marcell Dareus.
As a run blocker, Jones has the strength to push defensive linemen around at the point of attack. He is a good drive blocker to be a power-man blocker with the mobility to hit blocks on the second level. Jones could fit as a zone blocker or in a power-man blocking scheme as a pro.
Jones is rock steady in pass protection. He is quick and shuffles his feet with speed rushers while having the powerful base to stand up bull rushers. Jones really did well at left tackle in 2011, and considering the need for the position in the NFL, some teams could consider him to be their blind-side protector.
Jones is a hard-working, team-first guy. Not only can his intelligence be seen in learning multiple positions, but he graduated with his degree in accounting in three years with a 4.0 grade-point average. Jones was getting his master's degree during his "junior" season of college football.
Barrett Jones Scouting Report
Grade: 7.6 (Grading Scale)
If you’re looking for a prospect in this draft with a higher football IQ than Barrett Jones, you will never find him. While Jones isn’t a physical specimen by any means, he sets himself up to win by outsmarting opponents. He always knows how to maximize what he does well and limits the strengths of his opponents. Jones does his best work when uncovered. He’s then able to utilize his range in the open field and frustrate linebackers all day long. If he has to face a powerful nose tackle, he can still get the job done by himself without help. Having a center who is as smart as Jones pre-snap is a big plus for an offense that has to face the wide variety of defensive looks that NFL defenses throw out there every week. His versatility is also an unmatched characteristic among offensive line prospects. Jones is the steady, play-in-and-play-out guy that every team wants leading their offensive line.–Darren Page
Beyond The Combine Scouting Report
Right Shoulder surgery in 2008.
Missed 2 games in 2010 with a high ankle sprain
Missed 2 games due to a sprained ankle in 2011
Lisfranc sprain with torn tendons in the BCS Championship game. Played through it and will have surgery. Expected to be out 3-4 months and will miss the Combine.
Chance Warmack & Barrett Jones vs. Tennessee (2012)
Alabama offense vs. LSU defense (BCS National Championship)
A highly intelligent, high character technician like Barrett Jones would definitely be a Top-6 Offensive Lineman for the Denver Broncos if they select him. There isn’t a whole lot to dislike about Jones, with the exception of his strength, which surely can be addressed with the help of Luke Richesson. He already outsmarts his opponents with excellent technique and that is the biggest difference for college players making the jump to the Pros. I would nab him in the 2nd round in a heartbeat, but I’m not so sure he will make it to #60, which is where Denver’s 2nd pick lies.
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