Jamarco Jones surprised everybody last week. The lifelong left tackle was thrust into the primetime spotlight against the Rams and made his NFL debut at… right guard. Seattle called upon Jones following D.J. Fluker’s hamstring injury. Oh, and two-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald was there to greet him.
“I was telling Jamarco on the sideline, I was like, you’re ready, you’re ready. And he hadn’t really played guard so I didn’t know if he was ready. But he played great,” Russell Wilson joked with reporters following the Seahawks 30-29 win over Los Angeles on Thursday Night Football.
Jones saw 65 snaps against the Rams and impressively held Donald to zero sacks, earning a 79.1 Pro Football Focus grade.
“It’s a really first class come through for us that he went over there and played so admirably under the circumstances,” Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks drafted Jones out of Ohio State in the fifth-round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes at left tackle but saw his draft stock plummet following an underwhelming performance at the NFL Combine. As NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein noted in his scouting report, Jones lacked “wow” features.
“I think I’m a good football player,” Jones said. “I don’t think (the Combine) determined whether I can go play offensive line or not.”
A preseason ankle injury in 2018 ended Jones’ rookie year before it ever got off the ground. He entered 2019 as Seattle’s swing tackle until a few weeks ago when the Seahawks decided to start giving Jones practice reps at guard. Until that point, he’d never played guard at any level of football.
Versatility is key for backups in the NFL and Jones proved against the Rams that he’s more than capable at his new spot.
“I thought he was composed,” Wilson said. “I thought he was ready. He’s so fundamentally sound. He did a great job keeping his hands inside and keeping his feet moving. He’s just poised. He’s a true pro. I thought he stepped in in a big way for us.”
Jones has spent this week working with offensive line coach Mike Solari, refining his technique with the benefit of having game film to review.
“Things just happen quicker (at guard),” Jones said. “At tackle, there’s more space between you and the defensive end. It’s kind of more of a patient game. At guard, everything happens really quickly so you’ve got to be ready to react.”
Fluker remains out with a hamstring injury which means Jones is in line for his first career start on Monday against the Cleveland Browns. Wilson noted that Jones’ debut should give the second-year lineman a ton of confidence moving forward.
Jones played a huge role in Seattle’s win against the Rams. He’ll hope to have a similar impact in Cleveland.
“It just felt good to be out there and playing and have the guys have confidence in me when I’m going out there,” Jones said. “Being back out on the field felt great.”