Chicago Bears fans will not like to hear what one analyst thinks of Braxton Jones
When we look at the offensive line of the Chicago Bears, we see a unit that gave up 58 sacks in 2022. That was the fourth-most in the league. Heading into the offseason, we knew that the offensive line needed to be addressed. To date, the only substantial move Ryan Poles has made was the signing of Nate Davis. Davis is an above-average guard and will fit in nicely, but is that enough of a change to warrant optimism heading into 2023?
One could say that addition by subtraction means the center position will look better this year as Sam Mustipher was not retained. The problem is, on paper, Lucas Patrick is the only option with starting experience - unless Ryan Poles wasn't joking about moving Cody Whitehair back to center. Honestly, as it stands, Teven Jenkins moving to left guard and Cody Whitehair playing center could be the best recipe for success. This would leave Nate Jones at right guard - the only position he has played in the NFL.
At the tackle position, the Chicago Bears look weak. No one knows who would start at right tackle if the season started today. Would it be Alex Leatherwood? Would it be Larry Borom? The assumption would be Braxton Jones at left tackle, but maybe not.
Braxton Jones might not be the left tackle Chicago Bears fans think
One analyst that is well-known for breaking down the trenches is Brandon Thorn. Thorn produces the Trench Warfare Newsletter and his work is fantastic to read. Nicholas Moreano of CHGO_Sports recently interviewed Thorn. You can read the full interview here that breaks down Thorn's thoughts on the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft class. However, one thing that stood out to me that I thought we should address was Thorn's opinion and view of current Chicago Bears left tackle, Braxton Jones.
In the interview, Thorn had this to say about Jones:
"Basically what I said in there is what I still think today after watching him. I had him graded I think in the fifth round as well. I thought he was like a high level developmental player. The fact that he played every game last year is incredibly impressive. I think considering his background is very impressive and all that."- Brandon Thorn, Trench Warfare
When it comes to Braxton Jones' abilities on the football field, Thorn spoke to issues in Jones' pass blocking.
"I think his issues in pass protection I’m not sure how correctable those are. I think he drops his outside foot too quickly, it creates short corners. Gets beat around the edge too easily. Opens up his hips and shoulders too quickly and that leads him vulnerable to getting beat across his face or driven back into the quarterback. And I don’t know that that is going to get really fixed."- Brandon Thorn, Trench Warfare
What is worse though is that when talking about the possibility of moving Braxton Jones from left tackle to right tackle, Brandon Thorn made it clear that although it is a possiblity and he'd receive more pass-blocking help on that side, he views Braxton Jones as more of a backup or as the swing tackle. Yikes. Can Jones overcome the pass-blocking issues Thorn is talking about? Will he be starting at the left tackle spot? What about the right? We will have to wait and see I guess.