Steelers News

‘He Is A Pocket Maker’: McFadden Praises Broderick Jones’ Pass Protection

For just the second time since 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted a player inside the top 14 in the first round—and both times, they had to trade up to do it. This time, they moved up three spots from 17 in order to select Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones, who, according to Merril Hoge, was their top-rated tackle even though he was the fourth one off the board.

Hoge, of course, would have more insight than most since he’s now working for the team as a scout, so if he says that, we can trust it a lot more than anything we would hear from the outside. Another former Steelers player, Bryant McFadden, was impressed with the prospect as well.

“Jones is a body mover”, the former cornerback said on his All Things Covered podcast, which he co-hosts with his cousin, and current Steelers cornerback, Patrick Peterson. “He is a pocket maker. He gives the quarterback the ability to stand strong and stand tall in the pocket, and I thought the pick was outstanding”.

Now, a lot of times when you hear about Jones, it is more about his work as a run blocker than as a pass protector. From a fundamental skill set perspective, he may have more work to do in the latter department. But in terms of results, he actually did very well.

It has been cited numerous times since the draft that Jones did not allow a sack last season for the Bulldogs. He was Pro Football Focus’ 13th-rated offensive tackle in pass protection for 2022 as well, charging him with all of nine pressures, seven of which were hurries. He was also penalized just two times.

Throughout much of the pre-draft process, most analysts had Jones rated as the third-highest tackle behind Paris Johnson Jr. and Peter Skoronski, the latter of whom many believed would be a guard. Darnell Wright shot up ahead of Jones somewhat later in the process, and that’s how it went in the draft as well.

After Skoronski and Wright went off the board in consecutive picks at 10 and 11, the Steelers knew that Jones was their last available option for one of the top tackles in the draft. That’s why they moved up from 17 to 14 to get him, knowing that the New York Jets at 15—who otherwise would have been at 13 had they not swapped first-round picks with the Green Bay Packers in the Aaron Rodgers trade—could be targeting him.

Now they have him, and they will have to cultivate his talent in order to get the most out of him, but it would not surprise me in the slightest if he makes an immediate impact as an upgrade at left tackle and plays better, especially in pass protection, than many seem to think he will out of the gate.

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