NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Houston OL Braylon Jones

From now until the 2021 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.

#52 Braylon Jones/IOL Houston – 6033, 301 lbs.

The Good

  • Good length on the interior (33 3/8-inch arms)
  • Experience at multiple spots along the line (C, LG, RG, RT)
  • Solid anchor to handle pass rushers
  • Good pad level and push on run blocks
  • Good mobility on screens, to pull and climb to the second level
  • Even played right tackle for a game (Memphis)

The Bad

  • Poor mental processing on stunts and twists
  • Inconsistent timing with his hands leaving his chest open for yanks/pulls
  • Adequate lateral agility to mirror rushers inside
  • Adequate hand strength to lock on and sustain blocks
  • Needs to play under his pads more on run blocks to help balance
  • Could add upper body strength to improve punch power

Bio

  • 47 games 41 starts
  • 17 at right guard, 12 at left guard, 7 at center and 1 at right tackle since 2017
  • 2020 Phil Steele Magazine Preseason American Athletic Conference Third Team
  • 2019 – Missed time with shoulder injury
  • High School valedictorian

Tape Breakdown

Braylon Jones is yet another interior offensive lineman that the Steelers have had contact with recently.  He spoke with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm at the Houston Pro Day. He is a versatile, wide-bodied offensive lineman with starts in college at four different spots along the line.

As a pass blocker, he has solid snap quickness and a solid punch when he is aggressive with his hands.  He has good length and a solid anchor to keep blockers at a distance and hold up on bull rushes, and is solid working to get his hands inside. Jones does a solid job handling rushers one on one and looks for work when he is uncovered.  He has solid mobility on screens from the guard spot. He was solid on cut blocks as well as in slide protections.

Against Tulane, Jones (52) is the right guard and doesn’t get a block here, but this shows his mobility on screens.

Against BYU, as the center he does a nice job on this play to get his hands on the inside and hold off the pass rush.

Against South Florida, a slo-mo look at him avoiding the swipe of the defender’s right hand and then getting his hands into the body and getting a good push on the rusher.

As a run blocker, he plays with good quickness and pad level and gets a good push on down blocks and double teams, and is solid on drive blocks. He has good mobility and aiming points when pulling to the outside. He has solid timing and agility to chip and climb to the second level and is solid walling off or hitting a hinge block on second level defenders.

Against Tulane, he is the right guard, and walls off the second level defender on the backside.

Against Tulane, here is an example of him pulling as the right guard to the left and taking the edge defender out of the play.

Against BYU, as the center he blocks to the outside on the defensive tackle and gets a good push down the line.

At Cincinnati, a couple of plays in the red zone with him at center where he was chipping and then getting to the second level.

His mental processing is poor on stunts and twists. He will chase the initial rusher too far, allowing a gap for the looper coming around behind him. He could add some upper body strength to improve his punch power. His hand timing is inconsistent and it will leave his chest open, making him susceptible to yanks and pulls. I would like to see more active hands as far as countering and chopping at defenders’ arms. At center, he was adequate with his consistency using lateral agility to stay in front of blockers on pass plays. His hand strength is adequate to lock on and sustain blocks. His balance is adequate and will aim too deep on the second level, allowing linebackers to get under him.

Against BYU, after the snap he tries to get a big push on the DT, and it takes him out of position, giving up the sack.

At Cincinnati, he is slow with his hands, and the defender is able to get to his chest and yank him out of the way.

Overall, Jones is a better run blocker than pass protector right now. He has good length to play inside with solid quickness, mobility to get out on screens, and anchors well in one on one situations. He has good aggressiveness as a run blocker and gets a push on down, drive and double team blocks, and looked good pulling to the outside and climbing to the second level. Areas to improve include mental processing of stunts and twists, more active hands in Pass Pro, improve his balance playing with his feet under him and adding upper body strength.

I can see why there might be interest in Jones.  You have to like the versatility to play all the interior spots and he hit most of the measureables the Steelers look for except height and bench press. His mobility was better than expected and I think he has a lot of positives that could be good with some coaching.  He would fit best in a Gap/Power run scheme at guard or center, but I think center would be his best position. With expected improvement, I can see him being a starter at some point. For the Steelers, he would be depth along the interior with the potential to start down the road.

Projection: Late Day 3

Games Watched: 2020 – vs. Tulane, vs. BYU, at Cincinnati, vs. USF, at Memphis

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