Prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers contest against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, the team made the stunning decision to move to start rookie offensive lineman Broderick Jones at right tackle in place of veteran Chukwuma Okorafor.
Considering Jones was drafted at left tackle and has not played right tackle since 2020, many believed this idea would prove to be flawed as his natural position was on the left side. Not only did this turn out beautifully, but the team may have uncovered that his true strength is on the right side.
As you will see in this film session, Jones is one of the rare offensive linemen whose natural strength and athleticism allow him to affect the game, no matter which side he is positioned on.
Climbing The Second Level
In the first quarter, the Steelers engineered a masterful touchdown drive that went 10 plays for 78 yards. The focus in this sequence is what Jones does on Najee Harris' touchdown run.
On this power run to the left sequence, there are three main charters: Darnell Washington (tight end), Isaac Seumalo (left guard), and Jones at right tackle. As the pulling guard, Seumalo will seal out the Titans' strong side linebacker (#2); meanwhile, Washington will seal out the Titans' edge defender on his side.
The real magic is with Jones. Notice how he accomplishes two things: First, the chip block to assist right guard, James Daniels. Secondly, he climbs the second level and takes out the Titans' weakside linebacker (#50), even in this attempt to make a play on Harris. Overall, a well-schemed play and an example of Jones' outstanding mobility.
Mobility And Positioning
One aspect that has been lacking in the Steelers run offense has been the use of counters. Very rarely have we seen the team make use of a pulling guard and tackle in order to create seams for their running back. This game was a different story, as they made use of this concept often.
In this sequence, Jones will pull to the left and make just enough contact with the Titans edge defender. Though the contact did not seem like much, notice how Jones positioned himself to the right side of the defender, sealing him off and giving running back Jaylen Warren just enough room underneath for a healthy gain. What is impressive to watch about Jones is how quickly he is able to get out of his stance and locate the Titans defender to prevent him from making a play in the backfield.
Elite Pass-Pro Technique
What does not get talked about enough is how fundamentally sound Jones is in pass protection. Coming into this contest, edge rusher Harold Landry III was on a two-game sack streak. Against Jones, however, Landry III recorded no sacks or pressures due to his superior technique. When viewing him on film, what stands out about Jones is his ability to mirror Landry III, who is known for his explosive first step and speed.
In this one-on-one sequence with Landry III, Jones does a good job getting an initial punch on him. Notice how he does not lean forward as he starts to mirror him; he stays completely balanced and uses his feet to shadow him. Eventually, Landry III realizes he has no room around the arc; Jones finishes the job with one more block that gets him off balance. This type of technique made him a tremendous asset to the offense in this game.
Jones in the lineup gave the Steelers a different tenor, the type of tenor the team felt when he started at left tackle in their Week 6 win over the Baltimore Ravens. It is no coincidence that the team is 2-0 this season when Jones starts. Whether on the left or right side, Jones is capable of playing at an elite level no matter where he is placed.