With starting RT Chukwuma Okorafor’s status still up in the air for Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers may have to turn to rookie OT Broderick Jones as Okorafor’s replacement. That gives people cause for concern for two main reasons. One, Jones was drafted as the future left tackle, not right tackle. Secondly, he’s a rookie who will face star DE Myles Garrett.
However, Jones is prepared to make the position switch if needed. He addressed the media on Friday with video courtesy of Steelers.com, and he discussed the work he’s put in this week.
“I’m just glad that it was earlier in the week so I get to practice it and not in the game,” Jones said. “It’s just good that I’m able to go against people like T.J. [Watt], Nick [Herbig], in practice because that helps a lot within the game.”
Getting to take repeated reps against a star edge rusher like Watt will certainly help prepare Jones for facing Garrett. Herbig is no slouch either as he proved during the preseason. It’s certainly a lot better than being inserted into the lineup mid-game and having to attempt to block one of the best edge rushers in the game.
For those who are concerned about Jones making the switch from left tackle to right, it’s not anything new for Jones. He experienced the need for versatility first-hand during his college days at the University of Georgia.
“We used to always have a lot of linemen go down,” Jones said. “A lot of people had to play a lot of different positions. I had to move into guard before. So just being able to stay prepared, that’s all it was. They just made sure everybody was prepared no matter what.”
A week of practices against the likes of Watt, Herbig, and everyone else should help Jones be prepared if he’s needed to go Monday night. However, he’s still a rookie that will likely be tangling with Garrett who kicked off his seventh NFL season. He’s accumulated 75.5 sacks in 85 career games to go with 78 tackles for a loss and 146 quarterback hits. Jones will have a tall task.
Though all Jones has to do is remember that he’s lined up against Watt in practice who has 80.5 sacks in 88 career games along with 89 tackles for a loss and 167 quarterback hits. That’s plenty of disruption that will prepare Jones for what could be coming his way if he does start at right tackle on Monday.