A return of our Summer Scouting Series here at Steelers Depot highlighting as we highlight several 2023 NFL Draft hopefuls that are generating buzz prior to the start of the 2022 CFB season at positions that the Pittsburgh Steelers may have interest in several months from now once the pre-draft process gets underway.
#59 Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia (R-Sophomore) – 6’4, 315lb
— Good athlete at the OT position, having a loose lower half and ability to move well in space
— Possesses functional strength as a run blocker, having the shock in his punch and leg drive to displace defenders off their spot
— Can pull from the tackle spot to clear a runway for the back of his backside
— Plays with good leverage and pad level in short yardage situations
— Strong down blocker as well as on kick out blocks to create a running lane
— Aggressive mentality when out in space in the screen game and asked to climb to the second level
— Has the arm length and footwork to make EDGE rushers run the arc against him, keeping them at bey when he lands his punch
— Will get hands inside opponent’s chest to neutralize the rush
— Stepped up in the biggest moments for a National Title team when OL Jamaree Sayler dealt with injury or got kicked inside to guard
— Only a Redshirt Sophomore that is relatively inexperienced, showing growth in every game he played
— High-cut tackle prospect with thin lower half
— Will need to add more functional mass to lower half to anchor against power rushers at the next level
— Can have balance issues at times, causing him to play too far forward over his pads
— Will overset in pass protection, leading to defenders countering back inside across his face
— Needs would on his kick step in pass protection to cover more ground to establish the depth of the pocket
— Raw in terms of technique and experience, having only four starts under his belt
— Redshirt Sophomore prospect from Lithonia, GA
— Consensus five-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, and Rivals, #1 OT Prospect by ESPN
— 2020 Under Armour All-America Game invite
— Unanimous selection to the 2019 Class 5A All-State First Team Offense
— Skilled post player on the Lithonia varsity basketball team
— Appeared in two games during his freshman season in 2020, taking snaps at South Carolina and at Missouri at RT, eventually redshirted
— Played in every game as a redshirt freshman in 2021 starting the last four games of the regular season at LT
— Saw extensive time at LT in the Bulldogs CFP National Championship Game win against Alabama
— Coaches’ Freshman All-SEC Team (2021)
— Sport Management major
Broderick Jones was a former five-star recruit in the 2020 cycle, deciding to stay in-state and play for the Dawgs under HC Kirby Smart. The decision to not leave Georgia did Jones well last season, as he saw action in every game including four starts at LT during the Bulldogs National Championship Title run. When asked to fill in for now Los Angles Chargers OL Jamaree Sayler at LT, Jones represented himself well, flashing instances of impressive athleticism and power for a redshirt freshman. You see the power in his punch on this rep against Tennessee where Jones man handles the DE, shocking him outside with his right hand to clear a running lane inside for #4 James Cook to run through for the score.
Jones has plenty of strength at the point of attack as a run blocker, being able to displace defenders at the point of attack. Not only was Jones able to do this with regularity against SEC competition as a first-time starter, but also against some of the best names in college football. On this rep, Jones is asked to down block All-American EDGE #31 Will Anderson Jr. On the snap of the ball, Jones keeps Anderson from getting inside penetration, planting him on his back for the pancake block as #3 Zamir White bounces the run outside for an explosive play on the ground.
Just the play before in the same game, we see Jones successfully seal off Anderson on the edge from and keep him from collapsing him with the bull rush, digging his feet into the ground with good knee bend and hands inside the defender’s chest to neutralize the rush, allowing White to finish the run in the second level for first down yardage.
Jones’ movement skills as an OT are quite impressive to say the least, having a fluid lower body and loose hips that allow him to work in space and climb to the second level effectively. We see an example of that mobility here with Jones being asked to pull from left to right against the Crimson Tide, locating and blocking #10 Henry To’oto’o to spring Cook into the second level where he breaks to the left sideline and nearly hits the home run before being caught after the big run.
In the screen game, Jones can be just as useful thanks to his ability to cover ground, locate, and cover up defenders out in space. Watch this rep from Georgia’s spring game a few months ago where Jones climbs to the second level on a screen pass to the receiver, locating the LB and sends him to a different dimension with a devastating decleating block, burying him into the turf.
While Jones has shown that he has immense physical gifts and has represented himself well in limited action against some of the country’s best, he still has a way to go in terms of his development before making the jump to the pros. When watching the tape, you see inconsistencies with Jones’s footwork, specifically a tendency to give up too much room for inside moves. We see that here on two separate occasions against the Volunteers where Jones oversets outside, allowing the defender to run through his inside shoulder and put pressure on the QB.
Overall, Broderick Jones is a raw, yet talented offensive tackle prospect that came on strong last season for the Bulldogs, helping them dominate on the ground en-route to a National Championship. He is a well-accomplished run blocker that looks to enforce his will on his opponent with physicality and an aggressive style of play. His athleticism and movement skills remind me personally of another redshirt sophomore who just got drafted in Charles Cross. However, a better comparison for Jones at this juncture would be Vikings OT Christian Darrisaw who too possessed impressive mobility and a fluid lower half for his size while playing with a similar frame and excelled as a run blocker for the Hokies when coming out of Virginia Tech.
Still, Jones would do well adding more functional mass to his lower half to hold up against power rushers and better fill out his frame. He also needs to work on his footwork, specifically his pass set and not allowing defender to win inside across his face. The nice thing is that Jones showed noticeable improvement from his first start to his final game in the National Championship, suggesting that he is only scratching the surface of what he can be with another full season of development under his belt. More reps and experience will allow Jones to build on his 2021 season where he posted an 82.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t do anything to address the OT position outside of re-signing RT Chukwuma Okorafor. Should he and Dan Moore Jr. not show notable improvement in 2022, Pittsburgh very well could be in the market for a franchise-caliber offensive tackle. Jones could fit the bill as a young, athletic talent with the pedigree and play style Pittsburgh looks for as a team wanting to badly establish a running game that has been bottom of the barrel in the league the last few seasons. He needs some seasoning as a full-time starter in 2022, but Jones could easily be in Pittsburgh’s sights come next April.
Projection: Late Day One / Early Day Two
Games Watched: at Tennessee (2021), vs Alabama (2021 – CFP)