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ESPN named the surprise standout of the off-season for the Bears


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Vince Carbonneau
June 28, 2022  (2:54 PM)
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NFL Nation of ESPN made a list of surprise offseason and under-the-radar players to know for minicamp.

In order for an NFL player to be considered an offseason surprise, he probably hasn't met expectations to this point. Or, in the case of rookies from the 2022 draft class, they probably weren't picked until at least the third round, maybe lower.
Every team needs its players to progress. Even the good ones. Teams improve when their average players become good, and their good ones push toward being great.
Chicago Bears
OT Braxton Jones
The fifth-round pick quickly emerged with the first-team offensive line at left tackle during spring practices and supplanted Teven Jenkins, who moved to right tackle with the second-team unit. Jones admitted he was "a little bit surprised" he was competing with the ones this early but understands the importance of the reps he has gotten, which have helped him create a pre-snap process, learn different cadences and move faster. -- Courtney Cronin

The piece of news to make the most noise recently was definitely the coaching staff elevation of Braxton Jones to starting left tackle during practice drills last week. Although Eberflus stated this was only experimentation and that they are looking for the best possible combination on the offensive line, this could be an actual scenario for the opening game of 2022.
«We're just trying to find the best combinations of people, especially when you're looking at the offensive line. Who are the best five guys out there so we can succeed? And it creates competition when you do that, you know when you're moving guys around. Who can function at different spots, and who can really execute?»

Braxton Jones is Chicago's 5th-round selection this past draft. Although this seems low compared to Teven Jenkins (second round in 2021), draft status does not always mean something when you get to the pros. Both Jenkins and Borom were right tackles in college whereas Jones was an actual left tackle and has meaningful experience playing the position.
If he earns it there should be zero shame to bench Teven Jenkins and the new regime should not shy away from this possibility. Justin Fields needs the best possible Oline in front of him if we want him to play at a high level
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