Skip to main content


Football was meant to be for Jones

Some things are just meant to be, and for Broderick Jones, playing football is what was in the plans for him at a very young age.

At least according to his great-grandmother, Betty Stallworth, that was the case.

Stallworth said from the time he was a toddler that he was going to grow up to play football and when the 2023 NFL Draft rolled around and he was selected in the first round by the Steelers, her prediction came true.

"Broderick is a great kid and he has played football his whole life," said his mother, Tawana Jones, who was with him when he visited Pittsburgh after the draft. "He has always wanted to do this. It's something his great-grandmother spoke into existence. She told him all his life he was going to be a great football player.

"It means the world to see this happen. He was just three years old when she started to say it and it happened."

The Steelers' first-round pick, Broderick Jones, arrives in Pittsburgh and is introduced in his first press conference at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex

The Steelers rookie offensive tackle doesn't remember the early days of his great grandmother making that prediction, as he was quite young at the time, but he heard it more as he went through middle school and his very early teens, before she passed.

"They used to always tell me she would say it," said Jones. "I remember her telling me here and there. But my family said she used to say it all the time. Her dream became a reality. That was something she wanted for me. I'm just glad I was able to do it.

"I've always thought about what she used to say to me on a regular basis. That's what motivated me so much, always had me keep going."

It's family that gives Jones his biggest inspiration and motivation. He has a support system that has helped to guide him and is surrounded by their love.

"It's hard not to do what you're supposed to do on a daily basis with a support system like I have," said Jones.

He said he already feels that same type of support within the Steelers organization, from top to bottom, especially with Coach Mike Tomlin.

"It's just the energy, the vibe, the people, coaches," said Jones. "I feel like I fit right in.

"Ever since my first conversation with Coach Tomlin, I could just tell he was a great dude. I'm glad to be here with him, opening a window, just soaking up all the knowledge I can, and just getting the ball rolling."

Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Broderick Jones (77) speaks at a press conference during the NFL Draft at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Friday, April 28, 2023 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

That bond grew fast, especially after some of Jones' Georgia teammates put him on Tomlin's radar a year ago.

"It was interesting, I was in Athens a year ago and took a group of his former teammates out 12 months ago, and I said, give me a name that we're going to be back for in 12 months," said Tomlin. "And universally, Broderick's name was the guy's name that we got 12 months ago. That was the first time I really heard his name. In investigating, I see why they held him in such high regard. He's a really good player right now. But the upside is tremendous. He's a 'Diaper Dandy.' We're excited about getting him in the fold and teaching him and letting him sort himself out."

Jones appreciates the words of his teammates, words that very well could have made a difference where he landed on draft day.

"It's a blessing because we're all one big brotherhood," said Jones. "I will do the same for everybody else always. On a team that we had in Georgia, with so much talent, it was a blessing. Just being able to have that trust within the team and within my brothers, it was special."

That brotherhood he had with his Georgia teammates and that close bond is why he chose No. 77 to wear. Jones wore No. 59 in college but is wearing No. 77 with the Steelers to honor his late University of Georgia teammate, Devin Willock, who was killed in a car accident in January.

"It's in honor of my teammate that passed. He wore No. 77," said Jones. "I talked to the equipment manager, and he said No. 59 is not available right now. No. 77 was another option. So, I felt like I would do that for him, his family and myself.

"I just wanted to show my respect by taking that number and letting him live through me."

It's all part of what his mother classifies as him being, 'a good kid,' and 'somebody who cares about others.' Even when it comes to his pets, one might think they are a little bit menacing, but it's not that way.

Jones owns two snakes, a ball python which is considered a docile snake that is easy to care for, and a reticulated python, which is 16-feet long and weighs about 100 pounds.

"It's something I got into in high school," said Jones. "It wasn't anything too major then. My friend had one, I wasn't big on snakes, but as time went on, I started to be around him more and more and the snake more and more. I decided to get my own."

The snakes, Pablo and Piper, are ones he refers to as 'nice,' a term you might not always associate with a snake, but you can't help but trust him.

"None of my snakes are mean," said Jones, who visited the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium when he was in town following the draft. "I have never been bitten by a snake.

"A lot of people are freaked out by it, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter what they think. I like them."

Take a look at photos of Steelers first-round draft pick Broderick Jones at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium

Related Content