Analyzing Steelers 2023 First Round Pick Broderick Jones - Gifted and Growing
Film Study On Steelers Rookie Broderick Jones
The development of a player can be a complex process.
To begin, you have the player himself, more specifically their ability to learn, retain, and apply what is given to them. In relation to this, their willingness to learn and make mistakes in the process of development.
For offensive lineman Broderick Jones, much of his career up to this point has been defined by his ability to evolve with each given season. Even with his athletic gifts, his development comes with its fair share of growing pains. Yet, not only has Jones has persevered past his limitations; he has excelled to the point where they are rarely visible.
In high school, Jones was an accomplished basketball player, but he would eventually focus on football, where he would become the No. 3 offensive tackle prospect and No. 2 overall prospect from the state of Georgia. After seeing little action in his freshman year, Jones would play in 11 games with four starts at left tackle with the Georgia Bulldogs in 2021. On 438 offensive snaps, he would surrender only two sacks, one quarterback hit, and five hurries. In 2022, Jones started all 15 games at left tackle, allowing no sacks, two quarterback hits, and seven hurries on 933 offensive snaps. For his efforts, he was given All-SEC First-Team designation by the American Press.
Jones undoubtedly carries many physical gifts, which he uses to his advantage. Though he is not a finished product, the potential on tape is there for him to become the type of offensive lineman that could help the Pittsburgh Steelers take their offense to the level that could make them a real threat in the AFC Conference.
There is no question that Jones is an incredible athlete for his size. His ability to move with speed and fluidity in open space is as good as we have seen in offensive linemen in recent memory. Very similar to former Steelers guard David DeCastro, Jones excels at locating his target and imposing himself physically in order to create space for his ball carriers.
This sequence against the Tennessee Volunteers illustrates the damage he can do in open space. In this case, the Georgia Bulldogs will run a well-executed tunnel screen on the left side. Jones displays his quickness coming out of his spot and throwing a heavy block on the opposing defensive back. This timely block resulted in more space for Bulldogs receiver Ladd McConkey to run through for an easy first down. Considering how the Steelers put extra emphasis on running the ball during the latter part of the 2022 season, Jones should be an immediate asset with both his mobility and physicality.
Strong Fundamentals In Pass Protection
What is encouraging about Jones when watching him on film is his command of the fundamentals of pass protection while still being in development mode. Physically, his natural flexibility enables him to anchor opposing defensive linemen with little effort.
In this clip against South Carolina, we get a glimpse of all the attributes that make him effective in pass protection. First, he is explosive coming out of his stance. Secondly, he keeps his pad level low and gets underneath the Gamecock lineman's shoulder pads. Thirdly, he bends at the knees, allowing him to anchor effectively. Fourthly, he uses his feet and hips to move laterally, giving the opposing linemen no path to the quarterback. What makes all of this so impressive is his fluidity. Where most linemen struggle to coordinate all these aspects, Jones makes it look very easy.
Climbing The Second Level
Arguably his biggest strength is his ability to reach the second level when blocking. In these situations, his mobility and ability to locate his target with precision shine through. As much as we talk about his pass-blocking abilities, the Steelers should greatly benefit from him as a run blocker.
In this power run sequence, Jones is assigned the SAM linebacker (strongside) seen on the second level on the right side (#8). Considering where he is situated, Jones will have to maneuvers through some traffic in order to fulfill his assignment. When the ball is snapped, Jones does a masterful job navigating through a maze of players to reach the second level and make his block. For some who have the type of mobility Jones possesses, he will undeniably be an asset if the Steelers decide to implement inside zone and power schemes in their ground offense.
From all that is seen, the Steelers may have found the type of offensive lineman they want to build around. He has all the physical tools necessary to be a high-calibre player. What is scary to imagine is the fact that he is not a finished product. Under Steelers offensive line coach Pat Meyer, Jones' certain details in his technique should be fixed, resulting in a player with the potential of becoming an All-Pro player in the near future.