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Who is Jaryd Jones-Smith?

Is he really a contender to start at right tackle?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders
Jaryd Jones-Smith
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Last week in his pre-draft press conference, Las Vegas Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock raised some eyebrows when he suggested the team may not need to draft a right tackle because they have Jaryd Jones-Smith on the roster.

This is what Mayock said when asked about using a top pick to replace Trent Brown, who was traded to the New England Patriots:

“You ask me about right tackle, we’ve got a guy name Jaryd Jones-Smith who we signed off the street last week who we think has a chance to be a really good football player,” Mayock said. “Kind of excited about him.”

It was a stunning moment in an otherwise basic presser.

Just who is Jones-Smith and does he really have a chance to be the Raiders’ starting right tackle in 2021?

The Raiders signed him to their practice squad last September and he was promoted to the active roster for three games. After Week 11, he was on the practice squad for the rest of the season. The Raiders re-signed him to a future contract in January.

Jones-Smith — who is massive at 6’7, 345 pounds — was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans out of Pittsburgh in 2018. He spent training camp with the Miami Dolphins in 2019, then spent some time on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad in 2019 and he was in training camp with them last year. He turns 26 in September.

We’ve seen players come out of nowhere before (Darren Waller, anyone?), but is seems like Jones-Smith is quite the longshot story. In fact, it would be kind of nuts to see the Raiders not add anyone at right tackle because they have Jones-Smith, especially with the entire offensive line is such a state of transition.

It was interesting that Mayock mentioned him instead of Brandon Parker, who the team traded up to draft with the No. 65 overall pick in 2018. Maybe Jones-Smith does have a chance to compete.

Yet, probably Mayock was just smoke screening us all when he brought up Jones-Smith. We shall know the truth by the weekend.