From now until the 2020 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#19 Brandon Jones/SS Texas – 6’0 205
– Sturdy build and fills out his frame
– Physical player with “want-to” in the run game and shows a hair-on-fire attitude
– Plus athlete, good/great speed who closes quickly
– Capable in man coverage from a press/tight alignment
– Versatile, lined up all over the field, experience at SS/box, over slot, and centerfield/post safety
– Experience blitzing, also used in man and zone coverage
– Works hard in the run game to defeat blocks and shows strength to get runners on the ground
– Shows good football IQ and ability to read route combinations
– Works hard to recover when beat and plays the pocket well, combative at the catch point
– Quality starting experience
– Football bloodlines
– Tackling technique is inconsistent to poor
– Needs to do better job coming to balance as a tackler
– Tendency to lunge and shoot too low as a tackler or go for body blow with shoulder, causing him to miss too often
– Struggles more in off man coverage and will give up too much space, doesn’t look as comfortable as playing press-man
– Wasn’t a splashy player in college, productivity isn’t especially impressive
– 31 career starts
– Career: 233 tackles, 14 TFL 4 INTs 2 FFs 1 sack
– 2019: 86 tackles 4.5 TFLs 2 INTs 1 FF
– Blocked two punts as a freshman
– Ran track & field in high school in addition to playing football, part of anchor relay team that finished 3rd in State Championship
– Dad played football at Stephen F. Austin
Safety might not immediately jump to need in your mind but given the total lack of depth behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds, it’s an area this team must address this offseason. Jones has the potential as a strong fit. There’s an interesting combination of athleticism and physicality that’s attractive, especially to the Steelers.
Jones is an easy-mover with really impressive closing speed, like this play against Baylor. Has the angle here but takes a good route and you see his ability to close on the receiver. Dude should run well at the Combine. Athletic profile you need to play in space in the NFL. Seeing him against a spread system like the Bears helps tell you that.
But he’s also an imposing hitter who can deliver a strong blow and definitely wants to mix things up in the run game. Goes low here but gets the job done.
Here he is in coverage, running step for step with this slot receiver to the top and creating the incompletion.
Also admire his experience. Definitely important in Pittsburgh. Jones has lined up all over the field, as I wrote in “The Good” section of my report and you can make him a case playing any of those spots in the NFL. Ultimately, he likely fits best closer to the line of scrimmage in a SS role where he can also play the slot and match up over #2 or tight ends.
The one big area he’s gotta work on is his tacking and technique. He’s got a strong upper body and made a ton of ankle tackles in college but it’ll obviously be harder to do when you’re trying to take down, say, Joe Mixon or Nick Chubb as opposed to some Baylor backup who won’t get drafted. Jones has a tendency to shoot low and miss or go for the big body blow and whiff.
Overall, I like Jones’ game. He can run, he can hit, and the tackling? That can be worked on. He isn’t a ballhawk and there may be a limited ceiling here, I don’t sit here and think “playmaker” with him but he’s a solid player capable of defending all situations. And that’s valuable.
Grades are tough to assign right now, especially for me, but there’s talent here. Let’s see if he makes some money at the Senior Bowl.
Projection: Mid Day Two-Early Day Three
Games Watched: vs LSU, at Baylor, vs Oklahoma State
|2020 NFL Draft Player Profiles