Braxton Jones might be the biggest surprise of the 2022 off-season thus far. Arrival barely even registered for Chicago Bears fans. In a draft that ended up with 11 players overall, he was one of eight Day 3 picks, going to them in the 5th round out of Southern Utah. It was hard to get excited about him. Later round picks in general don’t usually hit, but that is particularly true for offensive linemen. So they didn’t give him the time of day.
That changed when the rookie ended Organized Team Activities as the left tackle with the starting offense. The surprise deepened when he held that position throughout the three days of veteran minicamps. Head coach Matt Eberflus said his job was to find the five best blockers for the Bears. Draft status or experience doesn’t matter. If Jones continued to show the team he deserves the opportunity, he will get it. Even the rookie himself admitted the promotion was shocking at first. One person who isn’t surprised at all is Chris Trapasso.
The top draft analyst for CBS Sports didn’t mince words when discussing the recent Jones promotion. He viewed it as inevitable.
Braxton Jones is the Bears future franchise LT. Has all the tools/demeanor to be a stud. Had no business being available in Round 5. https://t.co/IGxG0qHOCg
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) June 16, 2022
Braxton Jones has the traits to fulfill that boast.
Coming from a humble background makes it easy to doubt those words. Then again, when you look at him purely from a physical perspective, the stance starts to change. Jones not only has good size but his 35-inch arms immediately jump out at you. That is elite length for an offensive tackle. Combine that with a 4.97 time in the 40-yard dash and it’s apparent he is a freak athlete as well. So ask this question. If he’d gone to Alabama, Ohio State, or USC, would he have been a 5th round pick?
Probably not. Most likely with his tape and skill set he’d have been swiped within the top 50 selections easily. GM Ryan Poles, a former offensive lineman himself, recognized the potential. With some cleaning up of his technique and experience working against NFL defensive ends in practice, there was a chance the Bears could unlock a genuine beast. That he is this far along already is a good sign.