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Steelers Rookie Review: Recalling the draft profile of Broderick Jones

Even though there is one game left to sum up the 2023 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in full-blown offseason mode. As both the Steelers, as well as we here at the Steel Curtain Network, prepare for the start of the 2024 league years and the associated free agency period, as well as the 2024 NFL draft, it’s good before we get too far into the process of looking at next season to look back at some various things from the 2023 Steelers.

As I continue to work through the Exit Interviews article series of covering every player from the 2023 Steelers and their status for 2024, another fun idea is to check out last year‘s rookie class and what was said about them before the 2023 NFL draft. With all the analysis looking at 2024, sometimes it’s fun just to see how much those profiling players got things right, or wrong.

To start off, here are some of the various draft breakdowns for offensive tackle Broderick Jones last offseason heading into the 2023 NFL draft.


Pro Football Network

Full report HERE

Georgia OT Broderick Jones Current Draft Projection

Jones didn’t progress as much as he could have in 2022, but he still grades out as a potential Round 1 selection in the 2023 NFL Draft off his most recent tape. The physical tools are a heavy accelerant for Jones’ projection, but at his ceiling, he can truly be a dominant blindside blocker.

As a former five-star recruit, Jones has talent in spades, and then some. As an athlete, he’s explosive, amped-up, agile, flexible, and has plenty of range in space. He also has elite proportional length and overall power capacity, and can wrestle defenders into submission with his raw strength at the point of attack.

While the tools are a prime selling point for Jones, they can be a double-edged sword. Even through 2022, he’s been a bit too reliant on his tools. Jones’ physical skill set dictates that he can outmatch many college defenders with his athleticism and strength alone, but that won’t fly as often in the NFL.

It’s worth noting that Jones did display modest growth in 2022. His footwork is smoother and more balanced than it was in 2021, and he’s more controlled overall as a moving blocker. But Jones can still struggle to manage his pad level and balance through reps, and as a hand-fighter, he’s still largely dependent on two-hand extensions.

To be fair, Jones excels at timing his extensions and latching with force, but when he’s forced to be combative and adaptable in the NFL, the results may be up and down early on. Having said all this, Jones isn’t completely raw. He’s incredibly talented and has enough of a floor to take starting reps early.

Jones will undoubtedly take his lumps, particularly as a pass protector, but more experience is what he needs to further hone his skill set. Once he gets that experience and continues to build around his high-level physical profile, Jones can be an impact starter at either left or right tackle — a projection that’s well worth a Round 1 pick.

NFL.com

Full report HERE

Overview

Ultra-athletic tackle prospect with the size, length and potential to develop into a plus starter on the left side. Jones’ frame and technique both are in the developmental phase. His entry into block fits can be a little disjointed. He needs to improve his punch accuracy and timing to make the most of his length in pass protection. Jones is very talented at working into space and landing a block to help spring the running game. He has the nimble feet to mirror or recover against the rush. Jones isn’t a finished product, but the physical and athletic gifts allow for a projection as a good, long-time starter.

Strengths

  • Former high school basketball player with premium athletic qualities.
  • Drives hands into defender with upward strike.
  • Rips outside hand through pads to corral and move opponent.
  • Should be able to make all the blocks for zone and power.
  • Body control to adjust to moving targets.
  • Has length necessary to improve punch timing.
  • Recognizes twist attempts quickly.
  • Possesses loose hips and quick feet for recoveries.

Weaknesses

  • Less than two full seasons of starting experience at left tackle.
  • Needs to keep his chin tucked and back flat in protection.
  • Punch comes from outside angles and is slow to stick the rusher.
  • Gives early ground when challenged by power rush.
  • Doesn’t fit up run blocks in one, fluid motion.
  • Will need to improve play strength as a pro.
  • Tends to duck head and lose sight into first contact.

Bleacher Report

Full report HERE

OVERALL

Broderick Jones started 19 games at Georgia, including 15 during their national championship-winning season in 2022, his first as a full-time starter. Jones has very good arm length with a lean, muscular build and evenly dispersed weight throughout his frame.

Jones is light on his feet and an easy mover who can reach his landmarks in his pass set against wide alignments with the foot quickness and range to protect the corner on an island. He has smooth redirect skills to cover up inside counters and the body control to recover when initially beat. While his foot quicks are starter-caliber, his footwork and use of hands are inconsistent, especially at the top of the drop as he tends to fall off blocks when rushers get even with the QB and break off their rush inside. Jones plays with low hand carriage and is too often wide and late with his hand placement, giving up first meaningful contact and easy access to his frame. This can cause him to be persistently late to anchor against speed to power and the bull rush despite having the raw strength to absorb force on command when his positioning and hands are in sync.

Jones has very good power to create sudden, jarring force at the point of attack as a run-blocker on inside zone and gap concepts while being a weapon on the move as a lead blocker. Jones can engulf defenders on contact with his length and upper-body strength, run his feet and create easy power and displacement. While Jones’ movement skills, power and physicality are obvious, he has a bad habit of dipping his head on contact, losing sight of his target and falling off too many blocks. He also has erratic strike timing and hand placement, causing him to be late, wide and/or high at the point of attack, allowing defenders to work under and inside of him too easily. When his hands land tight and inside he can create lift and easy movement, but it isn’t consistent or reliable at this point.

Overall, Jones is a fluid athlete with excellent natural power and a rugged, tone-setting demeanor in the run and pass game. He needs considerable refinement in his use of hands, posture/hat placement and overall ability to stay attached to blocks, making him a potential impact player as a rookie with the physical traits to develop into a plus starter within his first contract.


So there are some of the draft profiles for Broderick Jones last year ahead of the 2023 NFL draft. Now with a season under his belt, how accurate do you think these profiles were? Is Jones living up to what he was believed to be ahead of a draft? Please make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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