The Chicago Bears are set to embark on what might be the most important draft weekend of GM Ryan Pace’s tenure. After delivering a dud in 2019, they must make changes at important positions to get back on the winning track. After navigating the early waves of free agency, the team has moved into NFL Draft mode. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more promising draft-eligible prospects to see if there’s a fit for the Bears in 2020.
Previous targets: QB Jake Fromm
Potential Target, Position, School
Josh Jones, offensive tackle, Houston
Measurements: 6-5, 319 pounds, 33 7/8-inch arms, 10 1/8-inch hands
Performance, Prospect Rankings, and Accomplishments
- 2019 stats: 13 games, one sack allowed
- Career stats: Played 45 games at left tackle, missing just five of 50 games played by Houston since the start of the 2016 season.
- Accomplishments: Second-team all-conference (American Athletic Conference), 2020 Senior Bowl invitee
- Position ranking: 7th (ESPN), 4th (Pro Football Focus), 5th (CBS Sports), 8th (Walter Football)
One Thing the NFL.com Draft Profile Says…
“Early tape would suggest that Jones is a raw, developmental project in need of substantial technique work, but the tape study later in the season suggests a level of improvement that creates additional intrigue for the long, athletic left tackle prospect.”
Justin Melo of USA Today’s Draft Wire tweets the Bears were one of two teams who made a private visit with Jones prior to COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, it has been reported that Jones had video conferences scheduled for the Bears (among other teams).
Where’s the Fit?
The Bears’ offensive line was a mess in 2019. A group viewed among the top half of the league in 2018 and projected to be a top-10 unit heading into last season fell apart at every turn. Between injuries, a failed position swap, and regression at both tackles, it felt as if nothing went right for Chicago’s line last year. And because of those events, the Bears should be looking at long-term solutions along the line.
That’s where Jones fits in.
Jones has the measurables and the pedigree as a four-year starter at Houston that should intrigue teams. PFF gave him a 93.2 overall grade, which is the highest given to a draft-eligible tackle prospect in this class. So between the eye test, tape, and analytics, there is a lot to like. But because he played at the University of Houston, there are some circles who use that against him, knocking his prospect status down a peg. And if that’s the case, the Bears would do well to scoop up Jones and put him on the squad (despite the presence of two highly paid veteran tackles).
Considering the work that Jones needs to do to round out his game, the immediate fit isn’t something I’m overly concerned about at the moment. And because the Bears could get out of either of the tackle contracts with minimal damage in dead money against the cap after the 2020 season, it’s easy to see where the Bears could fit Jones into their scheme as a long-term solution.