Three years into his pro career, Josh Jones has yet to show the Arizona Cardinals that he can be a starter at the NFL level.
When the Arizona Cardinals drafted Josh Jones two years ago, big things were expected out of the highly-touted offensive lineman.
Thanks to a fantastic career at the University of Houston, the 6-foot-5, 319-pound Jones was given a first-round grade by the draft’s so-called “experts”. Imagine how thrilled Cards general manager Steve Keim must have been when the youngster was still available two rounds later.
In hindsight, all of those NFL clubs who took a pass on Jones may have had the right idea. Despite the fact that he’s been handed opportunities to seize a starting job with Arizona, the 24-year-old Jones has been unable to do so. Was the young blocker undeserving of the opening-round projection that was heaped upon him?
Back in April of 2020, Kliff Kingsbury would have argued that Jones was worthy of all the praise. In fact, the Cardinals head coach made calls to a couple of the Houston Cougars assistants to see if they knew why Jones was still on the board in the third round.
"“We’re calling saying, ‘What’s going on? Did he kill somebody last night? Is there something we don’t know about? What’s the issue? They were kind of scratching their heads as well.'”"
Josh Jones has whiffed on opportunities to start for the Arizona Cardinals
In March of 2021, veteran Kelvin Beachum signed a two-year extension with the Cards. The former seventh-round choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers had started all 16 games at right tackle for the Redbirds in 2020 and was brought back to man the same post last season. The fact that Jones was passed over for the right tackle gig in favor of a 32-year-old journeyman like Beachum was more than a little disappointing.
With Beachum already penciled in to once again be Arizona’s starting right tackle in 2022, it was assumed that Jones would be the favorite for the opening at right guard. That scenario appears to be a longshot, however, now that experienced free agent Will Hernandez was inked to a one-year contract this past Monday.
Is it possible that the Cardinals hierarchy saw something in Jones that the rest of the league just didn’t see? Based on all of the pre-draft hype that surrounded him, one would have to think that Arizona would’ve expected Jones to be a full-time starter by the time his third NFL campaign rolled around.
Unfortunately, Jones appears to have “bust” written all over him. Throughout his tenure as the franchise’s GM, Keim has supplied the Cards with plenty of college prospects who just couldn’t cut it at the professional level. Perhaps Jones is just the latest in a long line of the executive’s draft-day disappointments.