Coming out of the University of Georgia, new Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones was considered arguably the best athlete along the offensive line in the entire draft class.
While the Bulldogs’ program is known for churning out insane athletes, Jones was a terrific athlete even before stepping onto campus in Athens, thanks in part due to his basketball background.
During his introductory press conference Friday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, Jones talked about his basketball background and how it helped him ultimately become a member of the Steelers’ organization as the No. 14 overall pick.
“I feel like basketball helped a lot, just like with footwork, with foot speed, hand-eye coordination, a whole bunch of different things,” Jones told reporters, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page. “But I always knew it was gonna be football when I stopped growing. So, I just did basketball to stay in shape, but I always knew it was gonna be football. I always loved football, but basketball, I can say it helped my game a lot.”
Prior to becoming a 5-star recruit for the Bulldogs along the offensive line, Jones was a dominant post player at Lithonia High School in Georgia. He helped lead the Bulldogs to the Class 5A Final Four with a 21-10 record (10-3 in Region 5) as a junior before ultimately putting basketball on the back burner.
Now, entering the NFL, that basketball background has Jones staring up at a high ceiling as an offensive tackle in the NFL due to his impressive footwork, which certainly comes from his basketball background.
Based on his tape, it’s not all that surprising that he has an extensive hoops background. Jones has good footwork overall and gains good depth consistently in his pass sets, which are often clean and smooth. He also has great footwork climbing to the second level and moving in space in the run game. That certainly was honed in basketball while playing in the post, having to slide side to side, closing out on shooters and making moves in the paint with his back to the basket.
With that type of background and foundation with his footwork, Jones should be able to hit the ground running in the NFL at a rather demanding position like left tackle.