The 30th pick in the NFL draft is a tricky position. It is all about what value a team can get at the end of the first round. I do not believe there will be any players from the watch list along the defensive line graded high enough for the Packers to take here. They could easily pass on tackle as well and get one later in the draft, but there are a few names to keep an eye on if they stay on the board. Two tackles to keep an eye on as pick 30 approaches are Austin Jackson and Josh Jones, who we will look more at in this post.
Josh Jones – OT, Houston
Projected 1st round
Jones is a natural athlete on the field. He uses his length to his advantage, and he is very persistent with his hands. He has great recovery skills if he needs to use them. Jones also has impressive hips which could allow him to be an effective puller in the run game. It is easy to see his athleticism stand out on film. Matt LaFleur could use him in similar ways as David Bakhtiari. He has the potential to be left on an island in the pass game and be a feared puller on the edge in the run game.
While Josh Jones is a natural athlete, he is still very raw on an NFL level. His athleticism has hindered his growth as a football player. His feet need a lot of work. At times, they can cost him his anchor. Jones is very susceptible to rushers who use speed to power. He can over set and rely too much on reaction. Reaction simply will not get the job done at this level. He will have to prepare better and have a plan entering a game which will help increase his awareness. His technique overall needs a lot of work, and he needs to become more consistent in his play. Jones will need time to develop into a high level NFL offensive tackle.
WHY HE FITS:
The Rick Wagner signing is perfect for Josh Jones. It will give him the time he needs to really develop and become a high level starter in the NFL. If Jones is thrown into the fire, he could develop too many bad habits. Wagner is not the long term answer, but Jones could be.
Austin Jackson – OT, USC
Projected 1st – 2nd round
Austin Jackson is a prime example of why the draft process matters. He tested very well at the NFL combine, and he posted a RAS of 9.37. With tackles being a hot commodity this year, it could force a team to take him late in the first round even though he may be preferred in the second round. He has all of the measurables you could want in a tackle. He is a very promising prospect who is better suited to play right tackle.
Jackson is a solid player right now, but he will need to work on his fundamentals. He also needs to become more consistent with his hand placement and footwork. However, he has the athleticism and mobility to fix any issue with his game.