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With their first of two sixth-round picks in 2018 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected guard Sam Jones out of Arizona State.
In a deep guard class, the Highlands Ranch product was regarded by some as one of the top talents after starting for one and a half seasons and leaving ASU as only a redshirt junior.
As we’ve done with every draft pick thus far, we had to dig into the tape to see what the Broncos are getting in Jones.
- Jones is a good athlete who moves well, showing nice nimble feet.
- He gets to the second level often, and is a force as a run blocker, with a head of steam he can really be ferocious—watch No. 76 playing left guard in the two clips below.
- While playing left guard at ASU, he did a good job on double teams.
- The in-state product shows nice awareness and does a nice job going from one block to the next, helping his center and tackle.
- He moves well in pass protection and can be very smooth. Per PFF, Jones allowed 14 total hurries and only one sack in 511 snaps last season.
- He does a really good job in pass protection against smaller defenders like ends or linebackers.
- One of the most notable things about Jones is that he plays with sound technique, and is never sloppy or off-balance.
- N0. 76 plays with really good natural leverage—watch as he takes on fellow Bronco Keishawn Bierria.
- He has a good lean frame with ideal height for the position.
- He was a big reason why ASU beat Washington last year, keeping their NFL-level front at bay—while strength isn’t his bread and butter he had some nice reps against Vita Vea, the draft’s 12th-overall selection.
- Jones lacks functional strength and can struggle taking on bigger defensive lineman without help. He can especially get pushed around by big nose tackles on the interior.
- He wasn’t used on the move much on pulls or screens. When put in motion, he’s a bit stiff moving laterally. He’s a much better athlete moving downhill.
- He’s only been a one-year starter in a full-time role.
- The few times he was put on the move, he wasn’t always efficient delivering his block and getting to his spot. He needs to be better attacking his target when put in motion.
- He could be a nastier finisher. He misses opportunities to bury defenders, allowing them to get back into the play.
- He’s tall and has a good frame, but has short arms and isn’t a good enough athlete to handle playing tackle.
- His combine numbers were average at best, even for a lighter guard.
Jones looks like a classic left guard who does well on double teams and can get to the second level. He could profile as a center, as well, and brings a different element to the interior offensive line then grinders like Max Garcia or Connor McGovern.
The ASU product is ideally suited in a zone-blocking scheme which might be an odd fit in Bill Musgrave’s offense, an offense that has been more power-oriented in the past.
He can be an immediate backup with the ability to play both as the LG or center and might have enough talent to be groomed into a starting center in the near future.
While I was skeptical at first, digging further into his tape has convinced me this was a good value pick in the sixth round.