49ers 2020 ‘Who Is?’ series: Jaryd Jones-Smith for OL depth
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers inked offensive lineman Jaryd Jones-Smith to their practice squad late in 2019, and he figures to be a depth addition for camp in 2020.
In case you missed it, the San Francisco 49ers made a minor transaction in 2019 by parting ways with offensive lineman Will Holden and replacing him with another, Jaryd Jones-Smith, who joined the league as an undrafted free-agent signing by the Houston Texans after the 2018 NFL Draft.
Jones-Smith, 24 years old, played his college ball at Pittsburgh where he appeared in 33 games and started 13 of them primarily at both tackle spots.
After failing to make the Texans’ 53-man roster out of training camp, Jones-Smith subsequently went on to play for the San Antonio Commanders of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football. Once the AAF went under, the Miami Dolphins picked him up in the spring of 2019 before waving him on Aug. 31, 2019.
The Niners subsequently signed Jones-Smith last October.
San Francisco heavily scouted the AFF early in 2019 and with positive results. The most notable transaction was offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill of the San Diego Fleet, who ended up starting seven games last year and could end up being the 49ers’ starting right guard this season.
Is it possible Jones-Smith is on a similar trajectory?
Niner Noise takes a look in our latest “Who Is?” installment on this relatively unknown player.
Why Jaryd Jones-Smith improves with 49ers in 2020
There aren’t too many quality scouting reports on Jones-Smith out there, but this one from Texans Wire says a good deal:
"A natural pass-protector with good feet when kick-sliding, he performed well against NC State’s fearsome front-four (all of whom were drafted this weekend) particularly but was consistently solid throughout the season.Built similarly to Houston’s left tackle Julie’n Davenport, Jones-Smith has equally freakish arm length and utilises his long limbs well to control rushers threatening him on the outside."
This breakdown from our friends over at Phin Phanatic didn’t hesitate to sing Jones-Smith’s praises either.
Pro Football Focus also gave him a 2019 preseason grade of 57.2 with the Dolphins, which isn’t spectacular, but it isn’t as if he’s a total liability either.
Plus, the 6-foot-7, 345-pound lineman has size on his side, and it’s not hard to see a slight comparison to another former 49ers lineman of huge stature, now-Oakland Raiders tackle Trent Brown.
Why Jaryd Jones-Smith regresses with 49ers in 2020
Like Brown, Jones-Smith isn’t particularly athletic and is more suited to pass protection than run support.
This won’t bode well in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s run-first offense, which requires lateral movement and agility. Brown’s relative inabilities here are among the reasons why the Niners parted ways with him in 2018, and one can figure Jones-Smith is a poor man’s version of Brown in this ilk.
On top of that, Jones-Smith has a bit of an injury history, which might not matter much for depth purposes.
But it won’t increase his stock value either.
Chances Jaryd Jones-Smith makes 49ers’ 53-man roster
At this point, Jones-Smith is a longshot. San Francisco revamped its offensive line a great deal during the offseason, notably bringing aboard Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams and putting Brusnkill into a position to start at right guard.
Williams and right tackle Mike McGlinchey are expected to be backed up by Shon Coleman and/or Justin Skule this season, and rookie lineman Colton McKivitz is also in the mix for reserve duties at all five spots along the O-line.
Jones-Smith will have to outperform at least two of those names to stand a remote chance this training camp, which won’t be easy. Particularly when considering the preseason now has been cut to two games, and Jones-Smith would have likely been a second-half contributor in Week 4 of the preseason where these players have their best shot at making an impression.
The 49ers can part ways with Jones-Smith with zero in dead money, too, meaning his guarantees are essentially none.
Jones-Smith is still eligible for the practice squad, however, so that might be his best chance at hanging around in a Niners uniform for 2020.