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.