The San Francisco 49ers continue to look at offensive tackles. Aaron Wilson reported that the 49ers were one of 14 teams to hold a video chat with Houston’s left tackle Josh Jones, who is an intriguing prospect. Jones had four different offensive line coaches in five years with the Cougars. That has to be difficult for any player when you’re getting new “teaching points” every year. At a position that thrives on continuity and receiving clear messages, it’s easy to understand why Jones struggled to start the 2019 season. Jones became more and more comfortable as the season went on, and he ended up being one of the top performers at the Senior Bowl.
I’m the furthest thing from an offensive line expert, so I look at lineman from a fundamental point of view. Are they consistently in a good position? If you see a lineman constantly recovering, that’s not going to improve in the NFL. Is the player sustaining blocks? Once the lineman gets his hands on you, is he able to stay engaged? Then you get into hand usage and if they can reach their landmarks and cut off defenders at the second level, etc. You see all of this with Jones, who didn’t test in the agility drills at the NFL Combine, but it doesn’t take long to figure out he moves well when you watch Houston. Jones is a smooth player that simply does not get beat in pass protection. You saw as the season went on Jones figured out what works for him, and he looked like a first-round tackle. That continued at the Senior Bowl.
Jones came in at 6’5”, 319 pounds at the NFL Combine, and ran a 5.27 40-yard dash. His jumps were below average. Not doing the agility drills likely hurts Jones’s hypothetical stock, as those would have been impressive seeing his range as a player. Michael Peterson told me he’d be nervous about taking Jones any higher than the bottom of the first round and is this year’s semi-raw, athletic upside prospect. Peterson: He’s a bit more refined and natural in pass protection. Also, he has one of the better finishing mentalities in the class. He likes to snatch dudes chest and put them in the dirt. You saw that at the Senior Bowl several times. He’s probably heavier than he needs to be, but he looks good regardless.
I think he can be Terron Armstead 2.0. If the 49ers are going to take a tackle in the first round, Jones provides the best scheme fit as well as value-based on potential. Consistency moving forward will help Jones. He started 45 games, and you can tell he loves to compete. Sign me up for Jones.