6 final takeaways from the Chicago Bears mandatory minicamp
Will Braxton Jones be the starting left tackle for the Chicago Bears in 2022?
When I look at the players the Chicago Bears took in the 2022 NFL Draft, Braxton Jones has always been a guy I found intriguing. He is a great scheme fit but was also lacking in some fundamentals playing in a lesser Big Sky college conference. Where Jones started to stand out though was at the Senior Bowl when put in front of tougher, better competition.
Well, it appears that Jones has shown he could take the next step once again as he’s moved up from practicing with the threes to the ones. I know that Matt Eberflus has talked about moving guys around the offensive line in a rotation, but he also said that when he sees talent and the movement skill, he’s going to want to get a thorough evaluation. This is probably the reason why Jones was moved up. The coaching staff liked what they saw and gave him a shot against starting-level talent. The question is, has he shown to be the best option at left tackle?
Here is what Braxton Jones had to say after the final day of camp:
"“It’s a lot of learning – need to play a lot faster, think a lot faster. Focusing on the pre-snap process. I’ve struggled a bit with that – we have so many different cadences. The vets are helping me out and making sure I’m getting all the calls.”"
Jones was asked about an area he feels he’s improved on and went on to discuss how he’s really developing his hand techniques. This is important seeing it was something that some analysts called out as a weakness heading into the draft. Jones has been working hard with offensive line coach, Chris Morgan. He told reporters this in his press conference:
"“I’ve been really throwing my hands. In college, I was really reserved with my hands and I didn’t use my long arms to my advantage. Still to this day, I need to keep working on them, but they are a big thing for me and will help me be really good in this league. Coach Morgan has been a big influence on me by using those hands and pushing me to let them go. I notice when I punch them and get them off their spot, then I can recover.”"
There are obviously some good things that the staff has seen. Now, it’s a matter of determining who would make the better left tackle this season — Braxton Jones or Larry Borom. If it’s Jones, then the team needs to decide who makes the better right tackle — Larry Borom or Teven Jenkins. Finally, should one of these guys move inside and start at right guard? It will be telling to see who is starting where come the end of July when training camp kicks off.