Former NC State Safety Josh Jones went from being on his way out of the NFL, to starting Strong Safety for the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into Game 1 of the 2020 NFL Season.
Jones was drafted by the Packers in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He saw playing time in 29 games over two seasons, but never seemed to live up to the hype, and eventually a sour relationship developed between Green Bay and the former Wolfpacker.
The Packers waived Jones right before the season began last year, and the Cowboys claimed him off of Waivers on October 2. He began on Dallas’ Practice Squad, but he would eventually make it on the 53-man roster for 6 games, playing primarily on Special Teams. He played 66 snaps on Special Teams and only 8 snaps as a Defensive Back.
Jones was waived by Dallas on December 28th of last year. Three days later, he was claimed off of Waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In an unexpected move, the Jags traded 2018 third-round draft pick Ronnie Harrison to Cleveland for a draft pick. Harrison started every game at Strong Safety in Jacksonville last year, and in 8 out of 14 as a Rookie.
Because Josh Jones beat out Harrison for his job.
“So all of a sudden you’re coming in there and you’re not looking to move the chart, as far as the depth chart or getting guys reps, and he came back with knowledge and enthusiasm and being in the right position and making plays from the first day walking into the building,” Jags Head Coach Doug Marrone said.
“I didn’t really want to mess up the depth chart too much early on, but I was like, ‘Shoot, we have to see more. We’ve got to see more. We’ve got to give this guy an opportunity.’ I think every time we had given him an opportunity, he showed up big, he really did. He took advantage of it. A lot of times players that maybe bounce around a little bit or something, I don’t want to put words in Josh’s mouth, but sometimes you’re like, ‘Hey, this is it. This is the last opportunity for me,’ and I think that might have played into his mindset after the season last year.”
“Josh has had a tremendous camp. He’s a guy that can play both in the backend and play up close to the box. He’s big. He’s got very good play speed and he’s long, like Ronnie is, and he can cover half the field, so we felt really good about him,” general manager Dave Caldwell said last Saturday. (SI)
Jones’ base salary will be $825,000 this year, and he will be a Free Agent after the season.