Bears' Visits with Josh Jones Could Tell a Draft Tale
Barring a late start due to the coronavirus, left tackle Jimbo Covert will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August after a stellar career in Chicago which ended in 1990.
Covert is the only lineman who blocked for Walter Payton to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Bears drafted him in 1983.
Charles Leno Jr. is the most successful offensive tackle drafted by the Bears since Covert.
That's right, the same Charles Leno Jr. who committed 13 penalties last year has had a better career in Chicago than any Bears tackle drafted since 1983.
Bears Tackles Drafted Since 1983
Tayo Fabuluje, 7th round 2015
Charles Leno Jr., 7th round 2014
Jordan Mills, 5th round 2013
Gabe Carimi, 1st round 2011
J'Marcus Webb, 7th round 2010
Chris Williams, 1st round 2008
Kirk Barton, 7th round 2008
Marc Colombo, 1st round 2002
Mike Gandy, 3rd round 2001
Bernard Robertson, 5th round 2001
Jerry Wisne, 5th round 1999
Chad Overhauser, 7th round 1998
Jon Clark, 6th round 1996
Marcus Spears, 2nd round 1994
Troy Auzenne, 2nd round 1992
Louis Age, 11th round 1992
Stan Thomas, 1st round 1994
Roman Matusz, 11th round 1990
Chris Dyko, 8th round 1989
Cesar Rentie, 7th round 1988
Archie Harris, 7th round 1987
Paul Blair, 7th round 1986
Steve Buxton, 8th round 1985
Tom Andrews, 4th round 1984
Jimbo Covert, 1st round 1983
This is not opinion. It is fact. They've had no one else get into the Pro Bowl at tackle like Leno, and almost all the tackles drafted since 1983 besides Leno flopped or stuck around a few years and left.
Marc Colombo might have been the best, but his Chicago career ended with a brutal injury after a few years with only seven starts, before he had a productive career in Dallas. Jordan Mills has had a decent career in other cities after he left Chicago. No one else on the list of Bears drafted tackles from 1983-2019 even deserves mentioning.
So with tackles being part of the line problems last year, it would not be surprising for the Bears to look at the position even when other needs exist like safety or cornerback or receiver.
There are several top tackles who could slip into Round 2 if the glut of wide receivers pushes them down to the Bears, and one who has stood out quietly in postseason college work is Houston's Josh Jones.
Until the Senior Bowl Jones drew little attention, and then he handled some of the best pass rushers all week in drills and in the game. He had plenty of people trying to put him into Round 1 after the Senior Bowl.
Jones had a teleconference interview with numerous teams including the Bears, according to the Houston Chronicle. He also actually had private workouts before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown with a few teams. The Bears were one of them, according to Musiccitymiracles.com.
What scouts wanted to see from the 6-foot-7, 310-pounder was more of a mean streak. They saw it at the Senior Bowl.
"Man, you know, I just wanted to bury guys every single time I got out there," Jones told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "My O-line coach Brandon Jones pushed me to do that, to be violent out there. I actually feel like that's one thing I wasn't showing on tape so far --just finishing guys. So that's what I wanted to do."
The better competition at the Senior Bowl brought it out of him.
"I was able to come in, and kind of get that stigma off me that I didn't play against any Power-5 guys," Jones said. "I was able to get some good reps, against some good pass rushers from Power-5 schools. So I can dominate, whatever the (level).”
The attitude was there all along, maybe buried beneath a calm demeanor.
"Those corners and linebackers, they see a 300-pound man running at them, they gotta make decisions," Jones said. "Get out of the way, duck, whatever they gotta do. But that just opens up lanes and pathways for running backs and receivers."
The Bears have been a heavy inside running team with their RPO attack. Jones feels he can be a fit in any zone scheme.
"Definitely, definitely, right now, they want me inside zone, outside zone," he said of NFL personnel people. "The Y zone. They love it. For me to be able to open up, and get to the outside shoulder, with the D-lineman, or drive block down field, they love it."
A former high school basketball player, Jones probably fits better at tackle due to his quickness, good footwork and a 33 7/8-inch reach.
"I can get to my spot because I'm athletic," he said. "Once I become a true offensive lineman with my technique, base, hands, I feel like ... it's going to push me to be very, very good."