Offensive line help is what fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been asking for, for a while. Could this be the year the team finally invests a first round pick on the front line? If so, it would certainly help to secure a unit which looked improved last year from 2018, but still has room for improvement heading into 2020.
As we continue our look at potential draft targets, we’ll focus in today on Houston Cougars offensive tackle, Josh Jones.
Josh Jones’ Collegiate Career
After red-shirting his 2015 Freshman season, Jones became a full-time starter on the Cougars’ offensive line in 2016. In total, Jones went on to start 45 games in four seasons of play with Houston, earning All-Conference honors in his final year.
Jones and his teammates helped Houston’s offensive unit become the fifth-ranked team in scoring, putting up 43.9 points per game during the 2018 season.
Despite his team’s 4-8 record in 2019, Jones stood out and earned an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama where he really identified himself as a true NFL prospect.
His measurements all fit, weighing in at 319 lbs on a 6’5 frame. As an athletic tackle, Jones has gotten better in more of the areas you want to see in an NFL caliber left tackle every season in college.
He’s a solid option already, and shows the ability to get better and develop, which will attract coaches who like to mold raw athletic ability into technically proficient skill.
Looks comfortable in pass protection and doesn’t appear to be overly laboring to stay with opposing pass rushers. At the same time, he provides a solid push in run blocking and an ability to work to the second-level of defenses potentially helping to open running lanes for big gains.
Like many college prospects, Jones isn’t a finished product. This isn’t the biggest knock in the world, but when you’re considering spending a day one pick on him, it might give teams some pause.
Again, he looks to have gotten better every year, but the potential for more growth also opens the door for the possibility he’ll just never get all the way there.
In the NFL, athletic ability isn’t enough, as professional offensive tackles will need to be able to win early and maintain the win after initial contact. Late hands and over-committing to stopping a first move will leave a lineman susceptible to counters and leave them on the ground while their quarterback takes the punishment for their mistakes.
Teams looking for a plug-and-play offensive tackle in the first round, may not be satisfied with the amount of coaching and consistent execution Jones still needs before becoming a reliable starting left tackle in the NFL.
Why The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Josh Jones
Depth and potential is what we’re looking at in a world where Josh Jones is drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most likely, you’re also looking at a trade back where missing on one of the ‘Top-Four’ hurts a little less when you see the extra day two or day three pick that comes with a guy like Jones.
It’s reasonable to think Jones could come in and win the starting right tackle job as a rookie, and he has the potential to develop enough the Bucs could get comfortable moving on from Donovan Smith in 2021. Especially if he continues to demonstrate the ability to get better each year, like he did in Houston.
Should It Happen?
It was in Mobile that Jones started really gaining first-round attention, and it hasn’t stopped since. While he may sit outside of the ‘Top-Four’ of offensive tackles expected to be taken in the first fifteen picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, Jones looks like a solid late first-round consolation for anyone fortunate enough to ‘get stuck’ with the fifth or sixth best offensive lineman in this year’s class.
Listen in to Bucs head coach Bruce Arians as he sounds off about the potential of Antonio Brown joining Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!
Should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jones at pick fourteen? I’d say no. But like I stated above, in a trade-back situation where the team is collecting an extra pick or two, it’s hard to ignore this players upside. Even if he needs a professional redshirt season to get there.
How Do You Feel About Josh Jones For the Bucs In The 2020 NFL Draft?
This poll is closed
Draft Him No Matter What
Trade Back Candidate
I Wouldn’t Mind It
There Are Better Options