Easily the biggest surprise of Chicago Bears training camp is Braxton Jones. Even as Justin Fields and other offensive teammates keep soaking up the attention, people keep noticing the big #70 sitting there at the starting left tackle spot. Everything thought the rookie 5th round pick was nothing more than a brief experiment during OTAs and minicamps. They’re quickly finding out the coaching staff wasn’t joking around. They’re serious about this.
People have been reluctant to believe it. Teams don’t entrust the blind side of a quarterback to rookies. Not unless their 1st round picks. There is no way Jones could be making that strong of an impression, right? It might be time to believe it based on how Luke Getsy spoke about him following Friday’s practice.
“I think Braxton was a guy that (is) obviously super athletic kid we were excited about after spring ball. Then you get into the pads, and there’s zero intimidation. I mean, you’re going against Robert Quinn your very first 1-on-1 pass rush. That’s an intimidating thing, and he stepped up and did a great job. He’s answered the bell.”
Even the notoriously pessimistic Bears media have begun to see it.
We had talked about this on the pod yesterday but Braxton Jones played every snap at left tackle again today for the Bears’ first offense. A good sign for him after the first two padded practices.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 5, 2022
100 percent holding his own https://t.co/L1vLxiazPO
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 5, 2022
If Braxton Jones is day 1 plug and play OLT starter as 5th round rookie out of Southern Utah and just better than average to good, Ryan Poles 1st Draft is a success almost regardless of how the others do.
— Hub Arkush (@Hub_Arkush) August 5, 2022
Visual evidence has also started emerging. Fans attending the practice caught a few exciting moments where Jones showcased his talent. The first came during a full team drill where the rookie was left in space against defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad. Remember, this is a proven veteran who had six sacks last season for the Colts. Jones stonewalled him, allowing Justin Fields to find Byron Pringle for a first down.
Fields to Pringle #Bears pic.twitter.com/L8SZlTe0JJ
— John Herff (@JohnHerff_NFL) August 5, 2022
Later in practice, Jones did some work on a run play. He got good position off the snap, driving Muhammad out of the lane and allowing David Montgomery enough room for a nice run.
David Montgomery doing his thing. pic.twitter.com/Yvnu1chqX9
— The Tape Never Lies Network (@TTNLNetwork) August 5, 2022
Braxton Jones is on the cusp of an ultra-rare accomplishment.
The Bears likely felt he had the potential to become a starting left tackle. Nobody could’ve predicted he would come along this fast. Then again, it gets easier to accept when listening to the young man talk. He is well-spoken and articulate. The high intelligence is obvious. Combine that with his excellent size, long arms, and plus athleticism; those are all the building blocks necessary for a successful NFL left tackle.
There is no telling what will become of this situation. It is rare for tackles to be major successes taken outside the draft’s first two rounds. Then again, the Bears had one already with Charles Leno. The Green Bay Packers have David Bakhtiari. He was a 4th round pick. So Braxton Jones becoming a stud isn’t crazy. He will have to prove it on the field. That first opportunity comes on August 13th against the Kansas City Chiefs.
More proof R Poles was the right decision and to date, it appears he has quietly established this draft as a future grading point going forward.
Very excited to see Jones doing so well! I think we are going to truly appreciate just how good Poles and his team are at identifying talent in the draft. He may turn out to be the best GM the Bears have had in decades!
For a team with no first-round draft choice it really looks like Ryan Poles has found some interesting players during the later rounds. Of course, time will tell, but it sure looks like several of his choices have the potential for starting in the NFL.
It is looking like Poles did well with all of them. The two DB’s are going to start. V. Jones will contribute and maybe help in the return game. B. Jones is looking like the starting LT. D.Robinson is impressing people with his frame, speed and bend. He could end up contributing. Ebner is probably going to make the team and be the punt returner. Carter and Thomas are getting second team snaps and will likely contribute down the road. Kramer is the backup C. Gill is the starting punter. And Hicks might make the team as a special teamer… Read more »
It’s beginning to look like Poles hit it out of the park with his first 4 draft picks. I haven’t seen any recent drafts this encouraging. GO BEARS !