Braxton Jones

Braxton Jones hopes to help Darnell Wright while improving his own game

Braxton Jones talked with Waddle & Silvy on ESPN 1000 about his offseason.

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Braxton Jones stood out, not just amongst the Bears' rookies, but all players last season.

The Bears selected Jones with a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft out of Southern Utah. He, nor the team, likely expected him to slide into the starting offensive line, nonetheless its most important position; but he did with ambition and top-notch durability.

Jones' calling card from his rookie season was playing every single offensive snap of the season. He was the only player on the Bears' roster to accomplish that feat.

As he slides back to his native left tackle position this offseason, another item was dropped on his plate with Darnell Wright. The No. 10 pick from the draft out of Tennesee, Wright is presumably the team's starting right tackle. Jones wants to help prepare him for the task of starting on the offensive line as a rookie -- something Jones is quite familiar with.

"There's a little bit of a different role I've taken," Jones told Waddle & Silvy on ESPN 1000. "Obviously, Darnell Wright was taken in the first round. Trying to help him out a little bit in this offseason during OTAs. I still got a crap ton of work to do myself."

Part of Jones' advice to Wright, as Jones mentioned on the show, is getting the game to slow down for him. Jones mentioned the speed and strength of NFL edge rushers hit him hard (metaphorically and literally) as a rookie.

But Jones concedes if Wright can slow the game down, identify pass-rushing angles and build up his size and strength, he will be ready to become a starting tackle.

As for Jones, he hopes to become more technically sound, not just on the field, but in the weight room, too. Jones wants to be able to "access" his ankles, hamstrings and hips on the field. That, as Jones described, happens first in the weight room.

"The weight room is a big thing," Jones said. "That's a lot of technical things, too. The more I broke it down this year, it was a lot of technical things I need to take in the weight room."

Some Bears fans, including myself, held reservations against Jones taking over the most coveted position on the offensive line. Justin Fields is arguably the best quarterback the Bears have had in a while. The team wants to protect him at all costs.

Placing a fifth-round tackle at Fields' blind spot was a risk, but it helped expedite Jones' development. This season, he wants to continue to prove his worth on the line, while keeping Fields safe in the pocket.

Long term, can Jones become the Bears' franchise left tackle?

"100 percent," Jones said. "I think I can. It's gonna take everything in me. Getting better throughout all times of the year. It's hard but I definitely want to be the person to take that on."

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