UDFA Steven Jones gives Jaguars a value project with immense upside

• The Jaguars signed Steven Jones after the 2024 draft ended

• He's got a steep hill to climb but comes with huge upside

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Steven Jones (64) goes through drills during Friday's rookie
Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Steven Jones (64) goes through drills during Friday's rookie / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

As soon as the 2024 NFL Draft ended, clubs rushed to sign players who didn't get their names called during the three-day event. The Jacksonville Jaguars, for their part, ended up signing 13 undrafted free agents. One of them, offensive lineman Steven Jones, was on their radar late in the draft, and the Jags are glad they were able to land him.

Head coach Doug Pederson told the media at Jaguars rookie minicamp that they were discussing potentially drafting Jones.

"He was one of the guys we had talked about towards the end of the draft, potentially drafting," Pederson said. "Obviously, we went a different direction, but we were happy to get him, to get a guy of his caliber here, and get him working with our guys. We're just excited to get him on the grass and watch him run around."

Pederson goes on to say that Jones went undrafted because sometimes, "it's the way it goes," noting that you can never predict where a prospect is ultimately going to end up.

Jones caught the teams' attention at his Pro Day. Scouts were there to watch center Jackson Powers-Johnson, but he got the spotlight a bit. The former Oregon Duck made 36 career starts at Oregon, 29 of them came at right guard. While he's lined up at both offensive tackle spots, he struggles in space, so he may be a much better fit at guard. Coincidentally, the Jaguars needed depth at the position.

Currently, Brandon Scherff is the starter. He restructured his contract in the offseason to ensure he stayed in 2023. He becomes a free agent next year. Behind him is sophomore Cooper Hodges, who missed his rookie season with a patella injury but flashed at training camp. Also in the mix is veteran Tyler Shatley, who was recently brought back to add insurance in the interior trenches.

Jaguars OL Steven Jones has an uphill battle but has a chance

Steven Jones was projected to be a late-round pick or go undrafted, so it's not as if the Jaguars stumbled upon a draft gem. Having said that, the former Oregon Duck could turn out to be a solid developmental prospect. While he needs to work on his stance and his overall technique, he's got the physical tools to compete in the NFL.

As noted before, Cooper Hodges has upside but he may still be recovering from knee surgery. On the other hand, Tyler Shatley provides depth in case none of the Jaguars' young offensive linemen step up in training camp. However, he's not much more than a depth piece at this point in his career. When he joined the starting lineup for long stretches in 2023, he struggled. That's where Jones comes in.

Darryl Williams and Blake Hance will be vying for a roster spot but it's hard to see them ultimately making the teams. Jones will push both in training camp. Having said that, he's a long shot to make the 53-man roster as a rookie but he should have a favorable chance to land in the practice squad. There, he'll be able to hone his skills and have a shot at making the team next year.

The Jacksonville Jaguars know that Steven Jones is a developmental prospect, but he's one worth keeping around. Who knows? With the appropriate coaching and the time to improve, maybe he'll become a key backup for them.

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