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2019 Broncos roster review: Offensive lineman Sam Jones

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Will the Aquaman look-alike make the 53-man roster as a backup this year?

Sam Jones is probably best known at this point for who he ISN’T than for who he is. He is not Jason Mamoa despite bearing a striking resemblance to Khal Drogo (Aquaman).

Jones was drafted in the 6th round in 2018 (183rd pick) and appeared in 5 games mostly on special teams in 2018. He got 15 total offensive snaps - four in game 15 and eleven in game 16 - all at guard. Jones has the experience and versatility to be a backup center as well.

Like Dalton Risner, Jones grew up a Broncos fan rooting for Mark Schlereth especially. The Colorado native getting drafted by the Broncos was a dream come true.

Sam Jones Profile

Height: 6’5” | Weight: 305 lbs

Age: 23 | Experience: 2nd year

40 time - 5.32s | Bench - 28 reps | Vertical - 27.0”

Broad - 101” | Short Shuttle - 4.86s | 3-cone - 7.92s

Jones was drafted to fit a zone scheme as his frame is not built for a power game. Much like Garrett Bolles, Jones has to rely on quickness and technique to compensate for a lack of bulk particularly in his lower body. Unlike Bolles, Jones is not that quick. From Matt Miller’s draft review of Jones.

Sam Jones will struggle to carry the weight needed to be an effective interior offensive lineman. He’ll have to find a program that builds up a frame that doesn’t seem to have much more space on it while also retaining the athleticism that makes him a reasonable prospect.

He’s an athletic mover who’s learned how to win reps without traditional power. An outside-zone scheme may see him as a rotating piece who can provide spot starts and depth after a year or two on a practice squad.

The Good

While Mike Munchak is not 100% zone blocking, he relies mostly on ZBS in his approach to offensive line play. Jones is good fit for that and should get some looks if Connor McGovern falters at center or if Ron Leary gets hurt again. Many offensive lineman take a year (or two) to develop their NFL bodies and NFL-level technique (partly due to the lack of pro-style offenses in the college game).

The Bad (and the stats)

As alluded to earlier, Jones is not stout enough to work well in a power blocking scheme so he has to rely on quickness and technique. Unfortunately for Sam, his quickness is not very good for an NFL offensive lineman. Compare his 20-yd SS and 3-cones times (4.86 and 7.92s) to Bolles (4.55 and 7.29s). Bolles has elite quickness which allows him to compensate for some technique mistakes. Jones have below average quickness for an NFL offensive lineman. In fact, Jones one of the least quick of our offensive lineman who got invited to the combine. The good news is that Leary was also slow-footed at the combine and he has gone on to become an above average guard in the NFL.

Lineman 20-yd Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Jake Brendel 4.27 7.31
Garret Bolles 4.50 7.29
Ja'Wuan James 4.56 7.42
Connor McGovern 4.65 7.50
Dalton Risner 4.52 7.69
Chaz Green 4.70 8.00
Sam Jones 4.86 7.92
Ronald Leary 4.91 7.87

Quotable

The least set of the five offensive line spots for 2019 is the center position. McGovern played at below replacement level during his time starting at center last season. If McGovern does not improve, I could see Munchak inserting Jones into the starting line-up at center. If you trust PFF, McGovern was ranked 50th of 74 players who played center or guard in 2018 and had 700 or more offensive snaps. Jones might be better than that, but there is a lot left to be seen according to Vic Fangio:

We’re a long way from determining [the starting offensive line].

Sam Jones Highlights

Sam Jones’ roster status with the Broncos

With the addition of Dalton Risner in the draft, Jones looks to be spending another year as the backup offensive lineman, but as a cheap rookie who the team drafted I would expect him to make the 53-man roster out of camp unless on the journeyman G/C’s that we signed in the off-season has an epiphany and makes huge strides in their level of play.