After passing on the position with their top pick, the Arizona Cardinals drafted offensive tackle Josh Jones two rounds later
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, it was no secret that the Arizona Cardinals would be looking for help at offensive tackle. Actually, many of the club’s fans believed that general manager Steve Keim would look to shore up the position with the eighth overall selection. It turned out that linebacker Isaiah Simmons was too good to pass up in the first round, so the Cards went out and landed a talented blocker two rounds later.
With their third-round choice on Friday night, Arizona’s front office added University of Houston tackle Josh Jones to the team’s blocking unit. The 6’7, 310 pounder, who was a four-year starter at the school, logged 45 career starts for the Cougars. Jones was named second-team All-American Athletic Conference for his outstanding play in 2019, a performance that likely helped get him noticed by the league’s scouts.
Although Jones manned the left side of Houston’s offensive line during his time as a collegiate player, the Cardinals will likely move him to the right edge. D.J. Humphries, who was quarterback Kyler Murray‘s blindside protector last fall, was signed to a three-year, $45 million contract this past February. Perhaps Jones could eventually move back to the side he played for the Cougars, but the job certainly belongs to Humphries for the time being.
There’s also a distinct possibility that Jones will assume a backup role for the Cards this coming season. Just last month, the organization brought back Marcus Gilbert after the veteran missed all of last year with a knee injury. Arizona is paying the former Pittsburgh Steelers player a salary of $3.75 million, so it’s presumed that Gilbert will start at right tackle in 2020.
Justin Murray, a former player for the Oakland Raiders, who started 12 games for the Cardinals at that spot in 2019, is also in the mix. There is a chance, now that Jones has been acquired, that the 27-year old could be deemed expendable. Gilbert has suffered various injuries over the years, however, so Keim may want to keep a steady performer like Murray around for added insurance.