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2020 Draft Profile: Houston tackle Josh Jones

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Scouting one of my favorite tackle prospects in this year’s draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 27 USF at Houston Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This year’s offensive tackle class is one of the deepest in recent memory, and despite recent reports that Denver may not be taking a tackle early in this draft, the Broncos have still been doing their due diligence on the top tackle prospects.

One of the guys they have met with both at the Senior Bowl and in a private visit is Houston tackle Josh Jones.

Josh Jones comes into this draft as one of the most game-seasoned left tackle prospects (which doesn’t all mean he’s a finished product technically) as he started at left tackle for Houston a total of 45 games across his four year career, only missing a two his sophomore year and three in his senior season due to injury.

What’s crazy is Jones probably would be a top 3 tackle in another draft class, but will likely be the 4th or 5th tackle off the board this year.

Josh Jones

Tackle | Houston | r-Senior

Height: 6’5” | Weight: 319 pounds | 40-time: 5.27 seconds

Arm Length: 33 7/8” | Hands: 10 1/8”

Bench Press: 24 reps | Vertical Jump: 28.5 inches | Broad Jump: 109.0 inches

Film Room

Scouting Report

  • Good athlete. Has everything you want in the position - size, length, athleticism
  • Pulls nicely in the counter and screen game. Quick for his size in the open field.
  • Not a mauler in the run game, but gets the job done. Liked what he did on zone runs to his side.
  • Continued to grow throughout the 2019 season and Senior Bowl
  • Biggest strength is pass protection. Was rarely straight up beat.
  • Hands are most advanced of his skillset. Had several nice snatch/traps that I saw on tape
  • Still can use some refinement on his punch, but his hands are really strong once he lands them.
  • Good competitiveness. Always looking for work and finishes well.
  • Feet are his biggest weakness
  • He has the athleticism to make up for it, but his footwork was very inefficient in pass protection.
  • Holds up well against power, but not the strongest guy. Would like to see improvement there to really anchor as well as move guys off their spot at the next level.
  • His recovery when he is in a bad position is impressive
  • Level of competition has to be taken into consideration with his tape, which is why the strong showing at the Senior Bowl and against top competition like Oklahoma is a good indicator for Jones.

What analysts are saying about Josh Jones

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah

Jones lined up at left tackle for the Cougars. He has the ideal frame and length for the position. In pass pro, he is very smooth and efficient in his set. He isn’t overly explosive but he has enough foot quicks to kick out and cover up speed rushes. He has a firm punch and he does a nice job replacing his hands when they get knocked down. He does play a little high and that impacts his ability to redirect versus up-and-under moves. In the run game, he can create movement on down blocks and he is effective at the second level. He shows awareness against both run and pass. Overall, Jones has some games where he looks like a top-15 player (see: the Oklahoma tape), but he needs to play with better knee bend on a consistent basis. He should be a solid, dependable starter early in his career.

The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs

Josh Jones is a high ceiling, low floor offensive tackle prospect who is an OL coach’s dream. With his natural skills, Jones showcases dominant physical flashes on the field and possesses the athletic ability to be a dominant pass blocker and weapon in the run game. But Jones’ skills need significant polish from the ground up — he’s still raw with his pass sets and footwork and can be too reactive in live action to over-set or over-pursue. Ideally he can be weaned into a starting role in the NFL.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler

A four-year starter at Houston, Jones was the starting left tackle in head coach Dana Holgorsen’s shotgun spread offense. A basketball athlete most of his life, he played in three different offensive systems at Houston (for five different offensive line coaches), which stunted his development, but he showed promising development as a senior. Jones has outstanding lower body movements and flexibility, replacing his hands and showing natural sink to keep rushers occupied. The anchor strength concerns are valid, and he looks to have body type restrictions so teams must be comfortable with his frame. Overall, Jones is currently a better pass protector than run blocker, but his flexible athleticism and eager hands are outstanding foundation traits to play left tackle in the NFL, making him deserving of first-round consideration.

NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein

Early tape would suggest that Jones is a raw, developmental project in need of substantial technique work, but tape study later in the season suggests a level of improvement that creates additional intrigue for the long, athletic left tackle prospect. To be clear, he needs plenty of work with his pass sets and footwork, but most of his issues appear to be coachable. He’s a good fit for a move-oriented rushing attack and has the traits and talent to become a future starter if he continues to develop with coaching.

Mile High Report’s Joe Rowles

Yes, Josh Jones is a first round talent. In a normal tackle class he’d be firmly in the top tackle conversation. Consider this: I prefer him to both Kolton Miller in 2018 and Garett Bolles in 2017. I’d have him behind Andre Dillard last year, but I was sky-high on Dillard. It speaks to how abnormal this crop is that so many fans have completely ruled out the possibility of him going at 15.

On the field, Jones shines brightest as a pass protector. He’s a natural left tackle who has played 45 games on the blind side in a shotgun spread offense. He has light feet and the fluidity in his lower half to get into his drop and redirect in order to mirror an opponent deking inside. He has the best hands of any player in this tier, plus the easy body control and balance you’d expect from a former basketball player. Houston believed in his mobility enough to ask him to pull across the formation as a run blocker.

As he reaches the league, he’ll need to get stronger and go through a technical revamp. The strength will help him anchor better, impact pass rushers more effectively, and improve his skills as a run blocker. That last one is an area where he’s merely adequate at the moment. Improving his technique is paramount to becoming more consistent on a down-to-down basis, as there are instances of him over-setting, opening up his chest, giving up the outside, or being late with his punch.

Does Josh Jones make sense for the Denver Broncos?

I really like the idea of Denver taking Jones as a guy who can either compete for a starting spot along with Bolles and Wilkinson, or have him develop for a year and take over in 2021.

Jones has a lot of room for growth, and has continued to get better throughout the process since 2019 season, the Senior Bowl, and his work this offseason with Oline coach Duke Manyweather.

I came away really impressed with Jones from my time at the Senior Bowl. He not only looked like the best tackle down there, but also seemed like a humble, hardworking guy.

I think #15 may be a little too rich for him, but he would be a prime trade back target if the Broncos could move off of #15, or if he lasts into the back of the first round, I would love to see them come up and get him. I don’t think there’s any way he lasts to #46, but I would be ecstatic if he did.

Ultimately, I think he’s a prospect Denver clearly has plenty of interest in, and would be a great fit if they were able to pick him up.

Poll

Where would you be comfortable taking Josh Jones

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    At #15
    (46 votes)
  • 46%
    Trading back into the 20s
    (283 votes)
  • 45%
    Trading back up into the first round for him
    (280 votes)
609 votes total Vote Now