The Denver Broncos have shown over the course of the 2018 season they have great depth. Joe Jones’ performance was the latest evidence.
The next man up mentality is the way of every NFL team, especially this time of year. The Denver Broncos have been no exception, especially at the linebacker position lately where Brandon Marshall and now Josey Jewell have suffered injuries.
Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Jewell had to leave the game and was replaced by special teams ace Joe Jones.
Jones was an in-season pickup by the Broncos in 2017 off of the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. He was signed to fill a special teams role then, and he continued to prove his worth in that phase throughout the 2018 offseason.
The Broncos kept Jones around for his special teams abilities, and he’s shown so well in his role there that many fans have been calling for him to get some action on the defensive side of the ball.
You never want to see any injuries, but sometimes injuries do pave the way for talented guys to get a shot and prove what they can do.
For Jones, the opportunity was fully taken advantage of.
Filling in for the star rookie Jewell, Jones looked fantastic in the very first work at linebacker he got during the season, racking up four tackles and showing off his speed and ability to mirror in coverage.
Jones, in his second season out of Northwestern, showed off incredible athleticism at his pre-draft workout in 2017. At 6-0, 231 pounds, he ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash and had a 35-inch vertical jump.
Those look like the numbers for a top-flight running back prospect.
Jones’ work against the Bengals may have forced the issue for the Broncos, even with Brandon Marshall coming back from injury and Josey Jewell’s not seeming overly serious. He will continue to play his role on special teams, but the Broncos may have finally found a linebacker who can both play the run and match the speed of backs in coverage.