The University of Alabama will sport one of the top offensive lines in college football in 2012. Leading that group is LT Barrett Jones, who looks to be another high quality offensive lineman produced by the Crimson Tide.
Size: Jones has the prototypical size for the LT position standing at 6’5 302 pounds. The concern about only being 302 pounds is something that’s minimal considering he’s a very good athlete and has been able to stand up some of the top edge rushers in the toughest conference in college football. If Jones were to add any weight it would be best to move it to his legs and lower body thus helping with creating a top end anchor. He already has a good base and anchor, but added weight would make it tougher to bull rush Jones.
Technique: When comparing him to teammate DJ Fluker, Jones is the better technician of the two. He has good hand placement keeping the shoulders square to the defender. Watching vs. PSU I was impressed at how well he played against Jack Crawford. Crawford was a tough opponent even if he never recorded sacks. Jones was able to stay square and not allow Crawford much room to get by him. I do think Jones needs to improve his feet. When watching him there are times he looks a little unorganized. Not that it can’t be improved with coaching, but it doesn’t have him in that “elite” technician stage that we see with some of the Tackles coming out recently. Again, Jones does possess a good anchor and has been someone who can move outside of the “phone-booth” to stop his opponent. It’s not a comfort zone to be reaching for him, but has shown the ability to become creative in order to stop opponent from reaching the QB.
Pass Protection: Jones has always been a sound pass protector and it’ll be interesting to see how Jones does since he is moving to the Center this year for Alabama. What does become a little frustrating to watch with Jones is him struggling at times with the top speed rushers in college football. This may have had something to do with him sliding inside. For the most part Jones’ technique has been able to help him out vs. those players. However, when Jones’ footwork broke down, it was apparent that he didn’t have the high end athletic ability to match up with those guys. Moving into the interior, Jones has the chance to be able to succeed at a higher level because of the ability stay in that “phone-booth” that he tends to like. My biggest concern with Jones in the NFL is the footwork like I mentioned previously. If corrected, there won’t be many concerns and holes in his game; but if the footwork continues to be an issue then Jones will have a tough time against the bigger and stronger Defensive Tackles in the NFL.
Run Blocking: This is what I consider to be the strength of Jones’ game. Numerous times on film you see him reach the second level and try to find a LB or DB to attack and allow Trent Richardson/Eddie Lacy to get a big gain. When scouting Offensive Linemen, I always look for that, because it shows an offensive lineman who is cerebral and able to think about what he can do to take a single play to that level of being an “explosive” play. Watching Jones in the run game you can tell he’s more of a wall off guy at the first level, but he’s not afraid to go and get that 2nd level drive block on a LB or S. I was impressed watching Jones first step. Really fires off the ball well and gets locked onto the defender. Against PSU seemed to be the 1st guy off the line most of the time. Overall though Jones is a guy who is going to be a sound pass blocker, and a very good run blocker.
Intangibles: With Jones and what you hear about him, he just screams a guy who has the intangibles a team will love. What will set him apart from other players in the 2013 NFL draft is that he’ll be a multiple position guy on the offensive line. That will allow a team who desires positional flexibility out of their line. Seems from all indications to be a guy who is a player you won’t have to worry about once reaching the NFL.
Overall: With Jones I see a guy who could be an tackle in the NFL, or could stay as an interior lineman as well. Is one of those players who does a lot of things well, but nothing at an all pro level. Would like to think he’s a guy who is drafted and plays 10 years in the NFL and is selected to pro bowls, but never reaches that level of being the #1 or #2 player at his position. Starter from day one and someone who will bring stability to a team who needs it at whatever position it may be. At the next level I see Jones being more of a RT in a ZBS scheme, but also another team very well could move him into the interior and he’ll be very successful. Could be an LT in a scheme like Philadelphia’s, but more than likely will be a RT/Interior lineman at the next level.