We are watching a star develop before our eyes… and it’s not even preseason. About a month ago, I wrote an article about “5 Chicago Bears Ready for a Breakout Season”, hoping to give an early preview of young talents on the Bears roster. One of these players was OT Braxton Jones, who I noted for his performance in training camp. Yet to play in his first professional snap, Jones outperformed fellow offensive linemen Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins. Jones worked his way to first team snaps at such an early stage of his career, a promising sign.
About a month later, more football fans and media outlets have caught on to the Braxton Jones hype. In fact, Sports Illustrated recently published an article headlining the fact that Jones might be the “first rookie starter at the position on opening day in 30 years”. While the rest of the world is finally taking notice of the young star, Jones’ talent has not been overlooked by his teammates.
Riley Reiff, another offensive tackle for the Bears, was impressed with Jones and his ability to stand his ground against experienced pass rushers, like Robert Quinn. Reiff has even expressed his willingness to shift over to right tackle, in order to make room for Jones at left tackle. This shift in position for Reiff shows how much respect the seasoned veteran has for Jones and how big of an impact Jones can really have.
It’s no secret the Bears’ offensive line play was subpar last year, finishing on the bottom half in many offensive line rankings. However, the new additions of Jones is paying dividends already, preparing to start the new season with a much stronger core of men in the trenches.