Braxton Jones

Bears rookie Braxton Jones getting long look at starting left tackle

Chicago Bears rookie offensive lineman Braxton Jones could be a surprise starter in 2022. After joining the Bears as a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Jones, a product of Southern Utah State, was considered a long-term developmental prospect with eventual starting upside.

The NFL doesn’t wait long for development, however. In the case of Jones, he could find himself in the starting lineup in Week 1. He lined up with starters during the first padded practice of training camp on Tuesday. Veteran Riley Reiff split reps with Larry Borom at right tackle.

Braxton Jones’ emergence is especially relevant now that 2021 second-round pick, Teven Jenkins, appears finished as a member of the Chicago Bears. Multiple reports confirmed general manager Ryan Poles is fielding offers for Jenkins, who seemed to fall out of favor with the Bears’ new regime this offseason.

“Jones has moments where he can overwhelm his level of competition with size and length, but he’s currently lacking the technique and force needed to succeed against NFL defenders,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote of Jones prior to the 2022 NFL Draft. “Jones’ run blocking isn’t as dynamic or athletic as expected and his issues with pad level are a concern. However, he has good slide quickness, developmental traits and talent that should not be overlooked in pass protection. Shoddy footwork and a lack of half-man leverage in his pass sets led to a rough game against Arizona State, but both areas are correctable with work. He has the upside to become an average starting left tackle, but swing tackle feels like the safer projection.”

The Chicago Bears offensive line received a boost on the eve of training camp with the signings of Reiff and veteran guard, Michael Schofield. They both should begin the year with the first team. Their experience will help a young player like Braxton Jones, should he earn the starting left tackle job.

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