BOOM! Braxton Jones Makes PWFA's All-Rookie Team

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BOOM! Braxton Jones Makes PWFA’s All-Rookie Team

Chicago Bears

Even though the Chicago Bears didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, GM Ryan Poles’ first class put In work.

Eight of 11 picks played in at least 12 games. Five of those players made at least one start, with three making at least 10. All things considered, you can’t ask much more from that collection of picks during your first rodeo. But let it be known that one rookie stood out above the rest. And we should give him his flowers while we can.

Left tackle Braxton Jones made the PFWA All-Rookie Team:

Jones was the only Bears representative to make the list. But if you’re going to have one rep make it, then it might as well be at one of the most important positions in football — right?

Jones, 23, was a fifth-round pick out of Southern Utah in last year’s draft. The expectations weren’t all that high for the 168th overall pick coming into the year. However, Jones exceeded any (if not, all) expectations at every turn. It was certainly a fun path to follow from afar. Jones went from being a fifth-round pick, to battling for a spot on the line, and being in the mix at left tackle before ultimately winning the job out of camp and holding onto it for the whole year. Remember, Jones beat out incumbent Teven Jenkins, Larry Borom (who was thought of by the old regime as a potential future left tackle candidate), and free agent addition Riley Reiff. Beating out three dudes for a starting job as a fifth-round rookie is storybook stuff.

Even though there were line shakeups throughout the year, Jones was a mainstay at left tackle where he was the starter for all 17 games. Jones was Pro Football Focus’ 20th-highest-graded offensive tackle among the 84 qualifiers. His 79.4 run-blocking grade ranking 10th among tackles prop up the 75.4 overall grade. But that 70.5 pass-blocking grade was 43rd last year, which puts him squarely in the middle of the pack.

And it’s not just getting good grades that has me vibing with the news of Jones’ All-Rookie Team selection. Check out Jones in action:

Yeah, that’s the good stuff.

Perhaps as important as PFF’s grades and some highlight clips are Jones’ snap counts. Jones didn’t miss any of the Bears’ 1,034 offensive snaps this year. He even came through to play 61 special teams snaps for good measure. To me, that is a testament to excellence and durability. And from somewhere we weren’t necessarily expecting it from either. Pleasant surprises are my favorite.

Moving forward, there is a decent chance that Jones ends up as the Bears’ starting left tackle next season. And after a rookie season like the one he just had, I wouldn’t be all that mad about it. Don’t get me wrong. The Bears shouldn’t stop looking for upgrades just because Jones earned some all-rookie honors. But if they trust him enough to protect Justin Fields’ blindside, it would allow them to use their cap space and draft resources at other positions. Just something to think about as we navigate through the off-season.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.