NY Jets: Could Josh Jones be a legitimate Round 1 option in the 2020 NFL Draft?
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets will likely look to target an offensive lineman in the 2020 NFL Draft and Josh Jones could be a late-riser to keep an eye on.
It’s no secret that the NY Jets plan to completely overhaul their offensive line in the offseason. And while free agency could serve as a viable short-term fix, the only long-term solution will come in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Jets have wholly ignored the offensive line early in drafts for the last decade and a half. In fact, the last time the Jets selected an offensive lineman in the first round was all the way back in 2006 when they took not one, but two.
Those two turned into future All-Pro stalwarts at their positions in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold.
With a fairly deep offensive line class this season — particularly in the first round — the Jets will have no excuse to ignore the position once again. And at pick No. 11, the vast majority around the league believe that the team will finally pull the trigger and draft a lineman.
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For the last few months, the conversation has centered around a proverbial “top-three” of offensive tackles in Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, and Jedrick Wills Jr. But recently, the rise of Louisville’s Mekhi Becton has forced scouts to re-think their “top-three” mindset.
With Becton now in the fold, there’s a very legitimate argument that there are four offensive tackles all worthy of top-11 picks. That’s good news for the Jets who will be looking for which player will fall come late April.
But Becton isn’t the only offensive tackle rising up draft boards.
Houston’s Josh Jones has gone from a little-known mid-round pick to a player being discussed as a surefire first-round candidate after a strong showing during Senior Bowl week. And the question remains, just how high will his stock rise?
Jones has all the physical traits to be one of the best tackles in football. He’s an extraordinary athlete who’s shown flashes of brilliance in pass protection. His size and athleticism are a coach’s dream, but he remains raw as an overall prospect.
Jones’ footwork needs work and he could stand to add a little more functional strength to his game. A common — and accurate — comparison for Jones has been Andre Dillard who was drafted 22nd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in last year’s draft.
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Dillard started four games for the Eagles in 2019 and looked the part of a future stalwart at left tackle. And much like Jones, Dillard saw a late rise up draft boards and it culminated with him being drafted in the first round.
But could Josh Jones really be an option for the Jets at No. 11?
As of right now, it would take some serious draft stock shuffling for Jones to propel himself up draft boards that high. It’s unlikely we see all four offensive tackles be taken by the time the Jets select at No. 11 which would mean he’d probably have to usurp one of the current top-four.
It’s possible and we’ve seen our fair share of draft-day surprises in recent years, but it isn’t likely.
If the Jets trade down for whatever reason, then Jones becomes a more viable candidate. But the better, safer option would be to stay put at No. 11 and draft an offensive tackle with a higher floor.
Jones is an intriguing prospect and he could continue to rise up draft boards, but don’t expect to see the Jets to take a flyer on him — barring any significant changes.