Cardinals Should Consider Playing Rookie Tackle Josh Jones at Guard

Howard Balzer

After an offseason of not being on the field, it might be difficult for some rookies, but by the time the regular season begins, the Cardinals should consider moving tackle Josh Jones inside to right guard.

A third-round pick in April, Jones is expected to compete with Marcus Gilbert and Justin Murray at right tackle. Gilbert was expected to be the starter last season, but suffered a torn ACL four days before the season opener. Murray stepped in and started 12 games.

Assuming Gilbert is healthy and ready for training camp, it might be tough for Jones to win the job with Murray also in the mix.

A move to guard would not be unusual, at least for his rookie season. Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden played guard for the Baltimore Ravens in his first season, as did Laremy Tunsil of the Miami Dolphins. Both were first-round picks, and Tunsil is now with the Houston Texans. Other past first-round selections that played guard in their rookie season were Kyle Turley (Saints) and Tarik Glenn (Colts).

One former NFL scout told si.com it would make sense to start Jones out at guard if he would be an upgrade over J.R. Sweezy “because the goal is to play the best five players on the line.”

Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries has been impressed by what he’s seen from Jones on tape and in the team’s virtual sessions that have concluded, except for rookies.

“It was exciting to watch him,” Humphries said during a Monday videoconference. “He's one of those kids that likes playing ball. He's an athletic guy and fun to watch.”

As for the Zoom meetings, Humphries said Jones was on point with “every answer and with quickness. It was refreshing to see.”

However it plays out, Humphries says the summer battle will bea good one. “Justin and Marcus those guys are true competitors so it's gonna be a fun summer. Everyone’s going to be getting after it.”

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