Steelers Selecting Jarvis Jones At 17th Overall Wouldn\’t Be A Smart Decision

It\’s tiring to continue to see so many mock drafts link Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the 17th overall selection.

For starters, the Steelers history when it comes to drafting linebackers in round one isn\’t overly great. Lawrence Timmons was drafted in 2007 to be an outside guy with flexibility to possibly move inside. Thank God that worked out. Can you imagine if he hadn\’t of had that position flexibility?

Before Timmons? Defensive end Huey Richardson, who like Timmons was also out of the state of Florida, was a complete bust when they tried to make an outside linebacker out of him. I know many of you aren\’t old enough to remember him, but bust doesn\’t even begin to describe that selection.

Before Richardson? Defensive end Aaron Jones out of Eastern Kentucky in 1988. Yeah, that worked out great.

The outside linebacker position in the Steelers 3-4 defense run by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and linebacker coach Keith Butler is not an easy one to learn. You can normally expect any Steelers defensive player drafted to not see the field during their rookie season, and sometimes even longer, so why invest a first-round pick in a linebacker? Especially one like Jones, who has more than his share of question marks surrounding him.

The Steelers turned loose James Harrison this offseason for several reasons with one of them being that they firmly believe Jason Worilds is ready to take over now at the right outside linebacker position. If they really felt like he couldn\’t, they would have found a way to keep Harrison and his salary at least one more season. Like it or not, they are also married to LaMarr Woodley on the other side for a few more years as well, and I firmly believe that he will rebound.

This upcoming draft has several of the undersized defensive ends that can be converted to 3-4 outside linebackers in it, especially in the middle rounds. When you add to that the fact that there are more immediate needs on the roster, you should be able to clearly see that drafting Jones in the first round, if he even were to fall that far, would not be a smart choice.

Jones is not a “can\’t miss” propspect and this is a draft that the Steelers can\’t afford to miss in with their first round pick.

  • TsarPepe

    The fact that the Steelers have not had success with some 1-st round LBs is not an argument for avoiding Jones. It seems you had a slow news day and decided to write something to fill space on the blog. You really wanted to “make an argument,” but the argument is shoddy. To call the Jones pick a MISTAKE is going way too far.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    At first glance there was a lot of guys projected to go into the first but at this spot very few are now in my sights. I see either Warmack or Cooper are safe picks. Richardson NT or Johnson OT. Thats all I really see.

  • $19122620

    All I know is this: If he’s there at 17, and they opt to draft him I feel good about that. For one because his game tape speaks for itself, and because I feel good about them making that call to draft him in the 1st. Typically, if the Steelers are going to hit on a draft pick then it most likely will be the 1st round.

  • reg38

    Johnathon Cooper is the pick if he is still available at 17. Chance Warmack and Keenan Allen, Kenny Vaccaro would be nice contingency picks if Cooper is gone. Steeler fans should pray one of the guards falls to pick 17.

  • Jollyrob68

    Trade Down with San Fran and get more 2nd round picks. The 2nd & 3rd round seems to be the heart of this draft. Someone should want to move Vikings,Rams,Niners.
    Trading Down, why? As stated above The Steelers Rookies aren’t going to Start on Defense. However, the will get playing time and you can get an extra couple of players in the Second round & Third Round.Safety(s),Wr,RB,NT,ILB,OLB. As well as taking a risk on The Honey Badger with an Extra 2nd rounder.

  • LouPGH

    General consensus is that both Warmack and Cooper will be gone by #17, though I’d be happy with either. Also, DeCastro wasn’t supposed to last until #24, so you have to take the mocks with a grain of salt. Vaccaro seems like a solid choice. Allen strikes me as a bit of a reach. I’m coming around on Eifert, although some would call him a reach too.

  • nbaballer1

    Why is it that people think the steelers are comfortable with Jason worilds? If they were then they wouldn’t have bothered looking into Elvis dummerville or Dwight freeney. They clearly know that worilds hasn’t shown anything that would make them think he is the answer. If they brought Someone in then worilds would remain a back up. That seems to be what they want

  • TsarPepe

    I see that criticism is not allowed on this blog if the criticism is directed at the opinions of the blog owner.

  • David Edward

    Glad you posted this article Dave. Too many people are getting caught up in watching Jones’s highlight videos on YouTube and saying “the tape doesn’t lie”. True, the tape doesn’t lie which is why the key is watching deeper than the highlights. When you do that you see Jones as an agressive player, quick off the snap, good tackler…but he has trouble getting off blocks, gets some sacks by being pushed into the QB, not good backing up in coverage, not as strong at point of attack as he is chasing. Those aren’t really the characteristics of a #1 pick at OLB. There are other guys who look like Jones on tape who can be had in middle rounds. I don’t believe in gambling with picks on day one or two, but if I were to gamble it would only be for guys with elite athletic ability in hopes that they can translate it with proper coaching.

  • $19122620

    I wonder if Dumervile and Freeney talks were more of a motivational tactic to maximize Worilds effort and talent going into this year. Not saying that is what it was without a doubt, but when you think about it such a tactic would definitely give a player who is finally getting his chance to show what he can do to further tap into and maximize his talent and ability. If this is in fact what it was about it it would at least indicate that they have confidence that Worilds can be a good starter in the league IF he can tap into his potential and put it all together. Probably will never know, but it does make you wonder.

  • dgh57

    What about WR “Nuke” Hopkins in the 1st rd.?

    What about Safety Eric Reid in the 2nd rd.?

    What about RB La’Veon Bell in the 3td. rd.? (Not a perfect fit)

    What about SS Shamarko Thomas in the 4th rd.? (If Reid is not there in the 2nd.)

    Both Bell and Thomas will infuse some physicality into this team if drafted on both sides of the line!!

  • Maurice_hill_district

    History is not same as current day, & Jarvis’ medical risk has nothing to do with Timmons & Huey Richardson.

    Medical risk I agree. But the solution is obviously any team considering him should pour over his x-rays or any evidence Jarvis can provide.

    If we dont now draft Mingo or Jarvis or another very good one to develop for future OLB in 2014 or later, then where are you going to get one:

    Oh ok say or relay rumors Steelers were interested in Dumerville & Freeney as if Steelers ever bid for other teams free agents?

    Or waiting til a mid round & drafting Chris Carter? That one showed no promise in his 2nd season last year.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    I doubt anybody believed Steelers would outbid for top free agents. It was probably just writers doing the usual in offseason playing the odds to spread rumors because there was not enough to write about.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Agreeing with all that.

  • redneckmuslim

    Because this draft is weak on QB, the talking heads aren’t sure about anything. Usually you can setup the first round based on who needs a QB. You can’t do that this year so nobody agrees on anything.

    I agree it won’t be Jones in the first. But I think that’s because he will be gone already. There are so few big names for the teams that reach all the time to reach for. Someone will reach for him early.

  • redneckmuslim

    Exactly. We should stay true to our board. If Jarvis Jones is the best player available at 17 you take him. So what if he doesn’t play for awhile. If you make a decision based on who you have on the team right now or your past history with that type of player, you can miss out on a star. Everyone is a couple injuries away from playing anyway.

  • redneckmuslim

    Trading down does seem attractive this year. The answer at every position seems to be that you can find players just as good in the middle rounds. So lets get more picks in the middle rounds.

  • charles

    Colbert has had good success with his 1st round choices. This means that Ziggy and Heyward will have breakout years this year. I dream of drafting a player OLB? that impresses LeBeau enough so that he is the rare rookie starter and a return of the Steel Curtain ensues.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    We can hope!

  • Mr irrelevant

    17 won’t be olb. Can’t trade down unless someone wants up. Best option is minn at 23 if Austin is on board at 17 (we want bailey in 3rd). Elam is our first pick.

  • TsarPepe

    I don’t buy this logic. There are many appetizing names on the board. If someone reaches for Jones, then someone else will fall: Jordan, Ansah, Lotulelei, Werner, Floyd.

  • Cordarrelle Patterson.

  • Steelers32

    I hope for a WR at 17 or WR/TE if a trade down is had, Wallace was a big threat and a weapon, (OK more threat than weapon). His spot is not filled, and can not be filled in FA. The line has been addressed early and often for a few years, now let them work together and things will fall in place as they started to last year.
    IF it is a “D” pick the only one that still makes sense is Vaccaro, unless Ansah is around (now that’s a project I could get behind)

  • TsarPepe

    There are no other guys who have the same performance numbers against the best competition in college football. Jones is amazing at what he does. If he were amazing at EVERYTHING that a LB should do, then he will never be allowed to drop out of the top 3 and we won’t be having this discussion at all.

  • I don’t see how we can draft a guard in the first with all the holes on
    this team. Yes we also need a wr but the steelers don’t draft wrs in the
    first anymore (Brown, Wallace)

    Safety is also a need, but I doubt the steelers reach with all the
    safeties in this draft. That leaves olb. But we have Worldis, that’s
    funny. Why where the steelers trying to get Harrison to restructure, instead
    of just cutting him flat out

    IF Jarvis passes his physical and is available at 17, he will be the pick.

  • Brendon Glad

    My gut says they will take Tavon Austin. No one has said it. But I just have a feeling. And for the record, I would like that. I also could see Teo as the pick. I’d be luke-warm on that. I agree with you on the Jones opinion. That would do nothing for me as well. Some of my Steeler loving friends think that the 2 excellent OG’s will slip to them. I don’t think that will happen. I fully admit that I am not a NCAAF watcher. So I usually have NO opinion + or – when the Steelers make a pick. I roll with it. But I do watch the combine, and do follow the Steelers intensely. Tavon Austin was spectacular. Then when I saw how the Steelers were handling their WR situation…keeping the big, and pretty much not worrying about the 2 FA smalls, and with Chris Rainey failing as the Sproles-type…it smells like T. Austin to me.

  • Brendon Glad

    What do y’all think of Austin? You probably have seen him quite a bit…and may even know of his character since many of you are so close to WV.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m with you on the guards. I still think that even though they have invested mucho mucho on OL in the last few drafts, that they still need more talent there (as it remains a key weakness, in my opinion). I have a feeling that neither will be there though. I also felt like DeCastro wouldn’t be either. So let’s hope.
    I don’t like drafting LB’s or RB’s in the first round ever, so I will be luke-warm on anything that involves that. Timmons or no Timmons. He’s not great enough to change my mind on that. Vaccaro would be a solid pick in my opinion.
    My gut says they will take Tavon Austin. Just a hunch as I watched how tremendous he looked at the combine (yet without much “hyper-love” that some combine workouts create). Then I watched how the Steelers are playing their hand with regards to their 2012 WR’s. Feels like Austin. What do you think of him?

  • Brendon Glad

    I hope Worilds proves me wrong like Keenan Lewis did last year. I am very leery of him. Would not be surprised if Adrian Robinson beat him out. So here’s to Jason Worilds making me look stupid. I’m ALL for it!!!

  • Brendon Glad

    I’d agree, but Colbert seems to have a sweet spot in the first round and in undrafted FA’s. The second, third, and fourth rounds have not been his best work.

  • redneckmuslim

    Oh, I wasn’t arguing that Jones is the best guy at that position. I was arguing that he has gotten too much hype for some teams to pass up. Meaning the consistent losers who reach for the overhyped players.

    I agree with you that this just means an equally talented but less hyped player could fall to us.

  • redneckmuslim

    That’s an interesting point. Maybe one first round pick is better than two Sweeds in the bush. Or something like that.

  • SteelerDave

    I have said for a while now. Avoid Jones! He is way too much of a risk pick and we need to get this draft right.

  • mokhkw

    Jones made all his plays in College simply because he’s a better athlete than the players he is going up against, against good college players he wasn’t as good, and in the NFL where everyone is good he’ll be exposed as a player with no technique who can’t hold the point & can’t get off blocks.

    Show me 1 highlight where he beats a good college player with technique, or splits a double team; anything where he hasn’t made the play by running around someone who was too slow to stop him or the O has not tried to block him on the back-side of the play.

  • $19122620

    Yeah, I am with you, I hope he breaks out too. I mean that is what we drafted him for and it would be nice for him to fulfill those expectations.

  • mokhkw

    Agree 100%. I’m getting so tired of people who don’t understand how the Steelers draft & develop their OLBs wanting Jones at 17. He is clearly not a Steelers OLB & would bet the house that if he is available the Steelers won’t draft him.

    Majority of our OLBs are DEs in college, the only OLB I’ve seen in the past 10 years drafted in the 1st Rd. who could have played for the Steelers was Shawn Merriman. If you watch tape of Merriman and then watch Jones you can see the obvious differences; Jones isn’t anywhere near Merriman’s level of play.

  • mokhkw

    I think he could be a great player, but at 5’7″ & 170lbs I can’t see where he would ever be an every down player & therefore bad value as a 1st Rd Pick. No character issues from what I’ve read. For WR I would prefer the Steelers to select a bigger option who can play outside as I really believe Brown could do his best work if he could play the slot. Like Welker, Brown is more quick than fast and better suited inside.

  • David Edward

    Mokhkw, good job! You’ve done your homework watching the tape on Jones and made the correct assessment.

  • David Edward

    Austin would be a great pick and multi-purpose weapon for them. Basically, he replaces Wallace’s speed, and Rainey’s ability to make plays out of the backfield. Plus, he can takeover the PR job from Brown. Too many people are getting caught up with his small size because they are thinking of him as an outside WR, which he is not. The downside with him is the durability concerns because of his size, but he would have the biggest immediate impact of any player they can draft. There’s one big catch to all of this…He’s not likely to be there @17. Too many teams are hot for him now and he will go ahead of Steelers. SF has the firepower to get up into top 10 and would do so to get him.

  • David Edward

    Jarvis Jones shouldn’t be in their top 17 if theyve done their homework.

  • David Edward

    Hopkins is more of a possession WR and I generally wouldn’t take one of those in first. Reid is in the mix with Vaccaro, Elam, and Cyprien for the top S. Personally, I like Elam for Steelers but none should be taken @17. If Reid is there @48 I’d take him depending on who else is still available. 3rd is the right spot for Bell, although he could sneak into late 2nd depending on how things go. He’s more like what Steelers already have so I would take Gio Bernard over him in 2nd or wait to 4th for Zac Stacy or Kerwin Williams. I like Shamarko as a fall back S option, but might have to grab him in 3rd…but if there in 4th, it would be a nice pick.

  • David Edward

    Lol…hopefully you are wrong.

  • $19122620

    It seems like if there were not any scares around Jones’ spine and he had not run the 40 he would be a lock to go in the top 10 pick based on his production and the fact that his game tape speaks for itself.

    However, is it not true that doctors said he was fine, and that he also was cleared medically at the combine too? This being the case are we going to let a 40 time make us conclude that not only is he not worth a top 10 pick, but that he is not worthy of a top 17 pick.

    How crucial is a forty time for a rush LB? I know they did not record or release his 10 yard split time, but would that not be what matters? If you watch his game tape, he clearly has excellent closing speed and short area explosiveness. Brian Billick put it in perspective when he said defenders never have to run 40 yards to sack a quarterback. A poor 40 time and pro day caused Suggs to slide in the draft because and it benefited the Ravens as a result. Let me tell you something, whether or not the Steelers draft Jones only time will tell, but if he slides because of the above, he like Suggs did for the Ravens, will benefit some team.

    Personally (this is me personally), I am hoping that team benefiting is the Steelers if he is there come pick 17, and assuming his pre-draft medical reevaluation comes back good as it is expected to.

  • Superdriller316

    Trevardo Williams DE UConn, 6’1″ 241lb, runs a 4.57 40. 24 sacks in the last 2 years at UConn. Should be able to get him in the 3rd or 4th

  • Pete

    Totally agree on that one. Take one of the top 2 guards if they are available at 17. Interior O linemen don’t usually go until the later part of the 1st round so there’s a very good chance Cooper and/or Warmack will be available when Steelers draft. Have to take one of them if available.

  • David Edward

    Hi Craig, have you watched his tape? After you are finished let me know if you think he’d be good dropping back into coverage against the TEs they will face, or chasing after Ray Rice in the flat. Also, tell me what you think about him holding strong at the point of attack against an NFL TE or OT. Those are a few things he will be asked to do as a Steeler OLB. When I watch his tape, I don’t think he’s complete enough or has elite enough athletic ability to warrant the pick @17.

  • $19122620

    I live in GA. All players are able to develop their areas of weakness once they enter the pros, not that he has a lot. Definitely worth a pick at 17 since his pros far outweigh his cons. He plays faster than his 40 indicates (all over the field) despite my Billick quote.

  • David Edward

    I think I’ve agreed with you on Williams before. Love his athleticism (not just the 40). I don’t care much about college stats, but as a mid-round pick, I’d take a chance that I can turn him into a good 3-4 OLB.

  • David Edward

    Nice, then how would you grade him on the things I mentioned above?

  • Superdriller316

    Yeah, I’m not much on stats either. I just threw it in there to show that we don’t need a red flagged first rounder who will be on the bench the first 2-3 years. I’ll take Williams over Jones any day.

  • Pete

    Agree. If Worilds was the man they wouldn’t have negotiated with Harrison for a pay cut. They would’ve just released him outright. Worilds does not equal Harrison, even when he had a bum knee. If it’s anywhere near the truth that Harrison rejected an offer of a 30% salary cut then he and his agent grossly misread the market. I don’t think Worilds is going to be that guy but we have to live with it.

  • Guest

    See, I see a player that has his flaws like all prospects entering the draft. However, I also see a football player who with a couple years can improve those weakness, while further fine tuning his above average football abilities. Almost every defensive rookie has things they need to work on. Even go consider some of the flaws of some of the other defensive rookies projected to go in the first half of the first round. We can nitpick them too and find things they are lacking in and that they need to work on too. But here this the real issue, IMO. Most of those players didn’t have a poor combine/pro day, and don’t have medical issues. You see, I feel like some people just feel real uncomfortable saying he is the one we need to draft at 17 if he is there because of his previous medical issue and 40 times. So what they do is try to nitpick the junk out of him to find faults and then over blow them and other reasons to justify why we should draft this guy.

  • Guest

    Not sure why the above comment says guest but that was my response that was supposed to be to your comment and I accidentally posted it under my previous comment.

  • $19122620

    See, I see a player that has his flaws like all prospects entering the draft. However, I also see a football player who with a couple years can improve those weakness, while further fine tuning his above average football abilities. Almost every defensive rookie has things they need to work on. Even go consider some of the flaws of some of the other defensive rookies projected to go in the first half of the first round. We can nitpick them too and find things they are lacking in and that they need to work on too. But here this the real issue, IMO. Most of those players didn’t have a poor combine/pro day, and don’t have medical issues. You see, I feel like some people just feel real uncomfortable saying he is the one we need to draft at 17 if he is there because of his previous medical issue and 40 times. So what they do is try to nitpick the junk out of him to find faults and then over blow them and other reasons to justify why we should draft this guy.

  • David Edward

    Agree with you that Jones has some above average football abilities (quickness off snap and tackling), but he does not possess above average athletic ability for the position and that shows on tape when you watch closely and see he struggles at the things I mentioned above. Taking a guy in the first round who has below average athletic ability for the position is actually a bigger gamble than taking a player with elite althetic ability who is still raw. With the later, the idea is you can coach up a great athlete to be a great player, but an average to below average athlete has limited upside and may get exposed amongst the elite athletes in the NFL. Hope this helps!

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Right on. You apparently did your homework.

    One of many good examples is a different position but wr Anquan Bolden before the draft ran 4.9, though some say he ran a 4.71, still a bad 40. Another example Teo ran slow but could be a machine in NFL.

    Because Jarvis is a college LB not one of the DEs converting, we wouldnt have to wait as many years for the conversion. He can play OLB in 3-4 as in college. Not as good prospect if want him for inside backer.

  • RMSteeler

    I agree that Jones is not the answer at 1.17. “Experts” in mock drafts keep saying that he would have been a sure top 5 if not for the medical questions and “the Steelers are too smart to let him past #17”. BS. I have stenosis in two neck vertebrae, and have had one other fused ten years ago due to a military training accident. This is not something to play with at the highest level going up against 330 pounders. Don’t want Steelers to be first team to have a player die on the field. Uncorrected, it’s that serious. I hope that the Steelers are smart enough NOT to pick Jones, at any round. I hope Jarvis takes a year off and gets the surgery he should have had after USC dropped him.

  • Checkmate

    Colbert’s best work hasn’t been in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th? So Woodley, Randle El, Starks, Foote, Wallace , Lewis, Ike, Hope, Bell, Marvel Smith, Clancy, Spaeth, B-Mac and Sanders weren’t good picks considering their contributions to our team?

  • mlc43

    Great player but we have enough midgets at WR

  • The Steelers have proven they can find good WR’s anywhere in the draft. There is no reason to reach for one in the first.

  • JohnnyV1

    Huey Richardson, that was a blast from the past. He was horrible and it sent a great message when Cowher sent him away when he took over as coach. Yeah, I don’t see an OLB/DE type in Rd 1. I see OL, S, WR.

  • disqus_5IWNhVT8DI

    Jones would be a great linebacker in Black n Gold. He is all over the field when I see him play. I think the steelers need a pass rusher more than anything else.

  • Jack

    Maybe Jones isn’t the best choice or value when the Steelers pick is up, even though I think he likely would be, but referencing picks from 22 and 25 years ago as reasons why is non-sensical. Completely illogical.

    I guess they shouldn’t take any of the OTs if they fall because Jamain Stephens, Leon Searcy, and Tom Ricketts didn’t work out? Shouldn’t have taken Alen Faneca because of John Rienstra? Shouldn’t have taken DeCastro because of Kendall Simmons? So let’s eliminate Cooper and Warmack because 67% of the time the Steelers miss with 1st round Gs.

    Jarvis Jones has proved he can rush the passer and he has proved he can do it against the best talent in college football. Does that mean he will be a great pro? No. Does that mean his neck injury shouldn’t be at least a flag? No. However, he has a skill that is imperative for the Steelers (any NFL team, but especially the Steelers) to be successful and he proved it against the best competition possible. Maybe there is a S, G, WR, etc. that is there and makes more sense or presents more value, but the Steelers draft history with OLBs is not any reason to dissuade them from taking Jones.

  • $19122620

    Yeah, I don’t know, we will see. As far as I can remember, I have not seen a mock draft by the “experts” where Jones has made it past the Steelers, many having him going before that. So while he has some areas that need improvement it does not seem like the consensus share your assessments on how his overall game will translate to the NFL since they have him going in the top 17.

  • steeltown

    Is there such a thing as a “cant miss prospect”?? I think not… they’ll go BPA best player available, if that player is Jones, then so be it. I’m not advocating for Jones.. I know we have Woodley and Worilds, but what if Woodley continues to struggle, what if Worilds isnt the answer…? That being said, I fully expect Woodley to have a better season and Im excited to see Worilds start, but what if…

  • Brendon Glad

    Well, he’s been with the team for about 13 drafts “checkmate”. So without counting extras we wil put it at 39 picks in those rounds. So if those names are the best you’ve got, then NO, it has not been his best work. I’m counting about 5 pro-bowls combined out of those names (1 for Bell, maybe one for El as a returner, Wallace I think maybe made 1, Woodley made 2, I think….not seeing any more out of your list). Now Count the pro-bowls out of his first rounders and his undrafted FA’s then get back to me if you still think his best work is done in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds.
    I love Colbert so I’m not trying to criticize him…just saying I’ll keep the first-rounder thank you very much. His record there is as good as it gets.

  • Chris

    If the Steelers drafted Jones, he would play inside like he did his first year at Georgia. He’s athletic and can put on a bit more beef. He’d be perfect at the Buck. That’s how I see it anyway.