Categorized | 2013 Draft, Article, News

Steelers 2013 Draft – Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones Scouting Report Profile


The Pittsburgh Steelers had Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones in for a pre draft visit on Tuesday and our scouting buddy Dave-Te\’ Thomas was nice enough to pass along his scouting report profile on him, which you can read below.

JARVIS JONES

Outside Linebacker

University of Georgia Bulldogs

#29

6:02.3-245

Columbus, Georgia

University of Southern California

George Washington Carver High School

OVERVIEW

Regarded by many as one of the elite prospects in the 2013 draft class, Jones has had to overcome a few roadblocks during his path to the National Football League, but all that has done is fuel this athlete’s desire to prove others wrong. Often compared to Denver Broncos standout Von Miller, few in the collegiate ranks proved to be more important to his team’s success that Jones has been since “returning home” to join the Bulldogs program.

Jones has proved to be the spark the defense needed since he arrived on campus after an aborted start to his collegiate career at the University of Southern California. The five-star prep prospect was lured to California by former Trojans head coach Pete Carroll after a stellar career at Georgia’s George Washington Carver High School. Unfortunately, a neck injury suffered in his eighth game as a true freshman at USC would sideline him for the rest of the 2009 season.

After Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks and replaced by Lane Kiffin, the new Trojans staff weren’t sure Jones should suit up for them again due to the neck injury. It was later discovered that the linebacker has spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the neck canal.  When the USC medical staff would not allow Jones to practice in the spring of 2010, the player sought out other opinions. He was originally cleared by a doctor in North Carolina, but the Southern California administration still refused to allow him on the field.

Jones’ only recourse was to ask for his release to transfer back home to Georgia. The player’s high school coach contacted Georgia, Auburn, and Florida State to discuss the possibility with the teams\’ coaches. After meeting with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, Jones underwent medical testing by the Georgia staff and was cleared to play football at the University of Georgia.

Jones sat out the 2010 campaign per NCAA transfer guidelines before absolutely exploding onto the Southeastern Conference scene the following season. Spending the 2010 semester on campus would pay big dividends in 2011. He would go on to lead the league in tackles-for-loss the next two years, finishing second in quarterback sacks in 2011, followed by pacing the league during his final season.

Coming off a 6-7 season while Jones red-shirted on the Athens campus, the Georgia coaches were feeling the heart from their administration and fans. Head coach Mark Richt had produced twelve winning seasons before the 2010 debacle. It was the Bulldogs first losing campaign since the 1996 squad went 5-6 under Jim Donnan. Jones would be the player to quiet the fans and return Georgia to SEC prominence.

In two seasons leading the defense, Georgia enjoyed 10-4 and 12-2 back-to-back seasons. If not for groin and ankle injuries that would sideline Jones for two games and a good portion of another in 2012, Georgia could have been staring at an undefeated season, something accomplished only once in school history, when Vince Dooley’s 1980 squad compiled a 12-0 mark.

Jones provided relentless pressure in the opposing backfields. Georgia’s defensive unit had allowed 38 touchdowns during their 6-7 2010 campaign. With Jones in the lineup, those totals were reduced to 28 scores in 2011 (Bulldogs played in one more game that year than in 2010), as they increased their sack totals from 24 to 35 and their quarterback pressures from 129 to 158.

Jones would produce 49 of those pressures in 2011, as incredibly, ten of those hurries caused interceptions. Georgia would pick off a total of twelve passes that year. Jones also recorded 13.5 of the team’s 35 sacks and made 23 of the team’s 100 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

In 2012, Georgia recorded 32 tackles with 154 QB pressures. Jones delivered 14.5 of those sacks, along with 39 pressures. He caused ten interceptions via those hurries, as the Bulldogs would pick off thirteen tosses. He also recorded 27 of the team’s 91 tackles-for-loss.

In the games that the linebacker played in, Georgia’s defense averaged 2.73 sacks and 7.55 stops behind the line of scrimmage per game. With him on the sidelines with his injuries, the defense managed just two sacks and eight stops-for-loss in eleven quarters of action with him missing from the lineup.

At Carver High School, Jones was renowned his aggressive style of play and his hitting ability. That career was almost sidetracked by a personal tragedy that the player had to overcome. Football would give him that opportunity. In the early-morning hours of January 9th, 2005, Jones and his older brother, Darcell Kitchens, were standing down the street from their mother\’s home in tiny Richland, Georgia. It was Kitchens\’ nineteenth birthday. A car stopped in the road, and a friend asked Kitchens if he wanted to go celebrate at a bar.

“Do you want me to stay with you or go?” Kitchens asked his younger brother. “I told him it was his birthday and that he needed to go have fun,” Jones said. “I told him I\’d see him in the morning.” Less than an hour later, Kitchens was shot and killed during an argument outside of a bar.

After Kitchens was shot in the parking lot, he managed to walk back into the bar, where he collapsed on the floor and died. “It was devastating because me and my brother were very close,” Jones said. “He was my best friend. We\’d been together that whole day. He\’d only left me an hour earlier.”

On the day after Kitchens was killed, Jones and his family didn\’t even return to their home. It was already decorated for his birthday party. A birthday cake was even waiting in the kitchen. The family spent the night in a motel. “We\’d set up for a birthday party and he never came,” said Leon Dowdell, Jones\’ stepfather. “It really affected all of us. It was a shock.”

Jones, who was fifteen when his brother was killed, struggled to cope with Kitchens\’ death. For a long time, Jones was overwhelmed with guilt for not telling his older brother to stay with him on that fateful night. “It stuck with me for a long time,” Jones said. “If I had just stayed there with him, he might still be here. I really struggled with it. It took a toll on me. It killed me inside. I\’d completely shut it down emotionally.”

Kitchens\’ death nearly sent Jones into a path of self-destruction. In the months after the shooting, Jones argued with his eighth-grade teachers, skipped classes and was eventually expelled from Stewart County (Ga.) Middle School. After Jones was kicked out of an alternative school for fighting with classmates a couple of months later, he was banned from attending school in Stewart County altogether.

“It was a crazy situation,” Jones said. “I got into a lot of trouble after that at school and couldn\’t control my anger. I was so close to my brother. I was so angry he wasn\’t with me anymore. I didn\’t want to go to school or anything.”

Jones found his savior in Shelley Stephens, a mother of two young boys, who befriended him while she worked as an academic counselor for his basketball team. Jones moved into her home in Columbus, Georgia, about 35 miles northwest of Richland, and enrolled at Carver High School. During the summer before his freshman year, Stephens, a district supervisor for an after-school program and educator in the state\’s prison system, tutored him and helped him catch up on his academics.

Jones\’ biological mother, Gloria Dowdell, granted guardianship of her son to Stephens and Tony Adams, his AAU basketball coach. Jones lived with Stephens throughout high school, and now calls both women his mother. “I respect and admire her in that she entrusted Tony and I to help him get over that hump,” Stephens said.

“I think it was critical because at that particular time he was at a point where he could go either left or right or right or wrong,” Stephens said. “He was not where he should have been academically. I\’ve always been a stickler for academics. That was always my focus with him. When he first came here we had to work on strategies and getting him organized. He\’s always been intelligent, but he just wasn\’t applying himself.”

Getting Jones to try out for Carver High\’s football team was an entirely different challenge. He joined the team only after coaches told him he couldn\’t play basketball without playing football. “As I got older, everything that happened I just turned into motivation,” Jones recalls. “I know if my brother was here, he wouldn\’t have agreed with the decisions I was making. I decided I was going to make him proud in heaven.”

“I hated playing football,” Jones said. “I just wanted to play basketball. On the days I didn\’t want to practice, they made me run around the track. I was always trying to skip football practice to go to basketball practice.” He was considered a potential Division I prospect in basketball. He played at Carver High and for the Georgia Blazes, a Nike-sponsored AAU team in Columbus.

Jones spent every summer during high school traveling the country, playing vs. future NBA stars like Blake Griffin, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love and Brandon Jennings at national AAU tournaments. Dowdell said his stepson loved basketball because it is the sport he played with his older brother. Dowdell recalled his stepsons knocking the spokes out of a bicycle wheel and nailing it to a tree for a basketball rim.

“When he converted to football, it was something new and different,” Dowdell said. “Football was kind of his way out of what was really bothering him. He found out he could take out his anger by hitting people.”

At Carver High School, Jones reluctantly learned to channel his anger through football to become one of the country\’s top prep recruits. Major colleges soon began to send their recruiters to see him play, wanting to see first-hand his great closing speed and ability to explode through ball carriers.

After playing tight end in his first two seasons, Jones moved to linebacker before his junior season in 2007. Recruiters found him to be a player with very good core strength and above-average body control. One report from Southern California’s recruiters simply stated – He’s very much a terror when the play is away. He moves very well laterally and finishes very aggressively. Needless to say, USC was “very” interested in Jones.

After all, he was the 2008 Super Prep, Prep Star, USA Today and ESPN All-American. He also earned ESPN 150, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Dream Team, Sporting News Top 100, Super Prep All-Dixie, Prep Star All-Southeast, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11, All-State Class AAA first team and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer All-City Defensive MVP as a senior.

That year, Jones recorded 77 tackles, with four tackles for a loss, four interceptions and two forced fumbles, despite being sidelined late in the season for four games with a broken thumb. As a junior in 2007, he was named to the Rivals.com All-American first team, earned All-State Class AAA Defensive MVP and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer All-City Defensive MVP honors after posting 157 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, four sacks and two interceptions to help Carver win the 2007 Georgia state AAA championship.

Jones concluded his gridiron career by playing in the U.S. Army All-American Game. He also lettered in basketball, earning 2008 All-State honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Georgia Sports Writers Association. He also did well academically, graduating with a 2.9 grade point average.

Moving across the country to California helped Jones escape the memories of his brother\’s murder. “I told him to go and whatever he did was going to make me happy,” Gloria Dowdell said. “I only wanted to make sure he was happy.”

Jones was a backup linebacker and played special teams for Southern California during the first eight games of the 2009 season. Against Oregon on Halloween night 2009, he collided with a teammate while trying to tackle a Ducks receiver and sprained his neck. USC\’s doctors told him he suffered from spinal stenosis, a condition that is caused by narrowing of spaces in the spine. It can cause pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots, and paralysis is a rare risk for some people.

Jones said he consulted three spinal specialists, who cleared him to play football, but USC wouldn\’t let him back on the field. “When I got the call, it was one of the most difficult times in my life,” Stephens said. “To just think that the dreams and goals we set for him were possibly not going to come to fruition was very difficult.”

With the help from his high school coaches and Stephens, Jones was finally able to find a home in Athens as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs football program. But, before Jones played his first game at Georgia, the NCAA investigated why Columbus youth sports organizers paid for his plane tickets to and from Los Angeles while he was enrolled at USC. Jones and Stephens were cleared of any wrongdoing because of their pre-existing relationship.

Jones said he tries to honor his deceased brother every time he takes the field. “He\’s who motivates me now,” Jones said. “I feel like he gives me all my strength. He walks with me everyday. It killed me for a long time. If I\’d just said, \’Stay.\’”

Before Jones transferred to Georgia, the school’s administration had him undergo a battery of medical tests before offering him a scholarship. Eligible to play in 2011, he was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bulldogs, as the Butkus Award finalist and winner of the CFPA Elite Linebacker Trophy earned consensus All-American first-team status. He was named team captain before ever suiting up for the team and rewarded them with 70 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 19.5 stops-for-loss, two forced fumbles and 49 quarterback pressures for the 2011 schedule.

Save for missing two complete games and a good portion of another, Jones was again a “rock” for the Georgia defense in 2012. He was a finalist for the Lombardi, Butkus, Nagurski and Bednarik awards, again earned All-American honors and the team captain was selected the Bulldogs’ MVP. He posted 85 tackles in twelve games, including 14.5 sacks and 24.5 stops-for-loss, adding 39 pressures.

Even though he played in just 34 games before announcing that he was leaving college a year early for the National Football League, Jones presently leads the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision’s active players in lost yardage via sacks (193) and is tied for third with 25 solo sacks and total sacks (28). He is tenth nationally with 45.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and placed fourth with 237 lost yardage via those stops.

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said Jones\’ combination of size, speed and strength allows him beat offensive tackles in many ways. Richt said Jones is also fast enough to tackle runners from sideline to sideline, and the Bulldogs even use him to mirror mobile quarterbacks.

“Some guys are just speed rushers,” Richt said. “Some guys will beat them on the edge and show them an up-field move and slip underneath. That causes problems. There are some great speed rushers, but that\’s all they\’ve got. Jarvis, every once in a while, he just decides to lift them out of their shoes because they\’re kind of on their heels, trying to worry about whether he\’s going inside or outside. Then he just runs them over, so he has a big bull rush as well. A guy with that ability and that kind of motor, you\’re going to make plays.”

Even with his life in order again, Jones said he\’s not taking anything for granted. He now realizes he wouldn\’t be where he is today without enduring his past struggles. “Looking back at it, it definitely made me the man I am today,” Jones said. “It made me more mature and it made me open up more. As I got older, everything that happened I just turned into motivation. I know if my brother was here, he wouldn\’t have agreed with the decisions I was making. I decided I was going to make him proud in heaven.

“God blessed me with this opportunity. I\’m just seizing the opportunity and giving it everything I\’ve got.”

CAREER NOTES

For his college career, Jones appeared in 34 games, including eight at Southern California…Started all 26 games he appeared in at Georgia…Recorded 168 tackles (96 solos) for his entire career, including 155 tackles (91 solos) as a Bulldog…At Georgia, he posted 28.0 sacks for minus 193 yards, tying Jimmy Payne (1978-82) for third on the school career-record list, topped by only David Pollack (36.0; 2001-04 and Richard Tardits (29.0; 1985-88), as Jones and Payne also tied Leonard Little of Tennessee (1995-97) for ninth on the Southeastern Conference’s all-time record chart…Registered 45.5 stops for losses totaling 237 yards, generating 44.0 hits for minus 235 yards during his playing days at Georgia…Caused nine fumbles, ninth-best among active NCAA FBS players, as he also recovered two fumbles…Recorded 88 quarterback pressures as a Bulldog, as he broke up five passes and intercepted another for a 21-yard return.

2012 SEASON

Jones earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp, Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association, Sporting News and Phil Steele…Named a finalist for the Lombardi Trophy, Butkus Award, Bednarik Trophy and Nagurski Award along with the LOTT Impact Trophy, the Bulldogs\’ permanent captain was the recipient of the Vince Dooley Most Valuable Player of the Year Award and named one of team\’s Most Valuable Defensive Players…Unanimous first-team All-Southeastern Conference choice…Started twelve games at weak-side outside line-backer, ranking third on the team with 85 tackles…Led the SEC and placed second in the nation with an average of 1.21 quarterback sacks per game, as his 14.5 sacks for minus 103 yards broke the previous school season-record of fourteen by David Pollack in 2002…

To put those totals into perspective, the entire Georgia defense sacked the quarterback 32 times, as Jones also recorded 39 of the team’s 154 pressures and led the nation with an average of 2.04 stops-for-loss per game…Produced 24.5 stops for losses totaling 132 yards, as he made 27 (22 solos and five assists) of the team’s 91 tackles behind the line of scrimmage…Also led the nation with a school season-record seven forced fumbles, adding two fumble recoveries, three pass deflections and a 21-yard interception return…

Led the Bulldogs with eight tackles, 2.5 stops for loss (one sack), a forced fumble and a pass break-up in a 45-23 win over Buffalo…Returned an interception 21 yards and posted nine tackles (6 solos) with two sacks for minus 22 yards, causing fumbles on both QB drops, in addition to deflecting a pass in “introducing” Missouri to the SEC, but suffered a groin pull that would sideline him for the following week’s game vs. Florida Atlantic. The junior linebacker received SEC and Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Week honors for his performance vs. the Tigers. With 7:27 left in the game, Mizzou may have had plans for late heroics. Gary Pinkel\’s team had played well in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Jones made sure the Mizzou faithful would go home unhappy, however, by forcing a fumble on the Tigers\’ very next series. He did so back in his customary role of rushing off the left side, where he blew by left Elvis Fisher (a legitimate NFL prospect himself), and chopped the ball away from Franklin\’s right arm as the athletic quarterback was rolling away from him. Speaking to reporters after the game about his first career interception, Jones noted, “I actually thought it was a touchdown; they didn\’t give it to me. But you have to take what you can get and we came out of here with a big win. A lot of people thought we were going to come in here and get upset.” Jones intercepted a pass from Missouri quarterback James Franklin and returned it 21 yards to the Missouri 1-yard line, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run from Todd Gurley that put Georgia ahead 34-20. Later in the fourth quarter, Jones stripped Franklin on a sack. Georgia cornerback Damian Swann recovered the fumble at the Missouri 6-yard line. That set up a 6-yard touchdown run from Georgia running back Ken Malcome to extend Georgia\’s lead to 41-20. “A lot of people thought we were going to get upset,” Jones said. “That\’s what everybody at ESPN was saying. But the guys stayed confident, the coaches kept us pumped up and the Bulldog Nation came out and supported us. Missouri threw their punches, but you have to play the whole game.”…Jones was back at practice after the FAU clash and told the media he expected to play when the fifth-ranked Bulldogs host Vanderbilt. He made it clear that he was “ready to get out there and just pick up where I left off from.” He would go on to total seven tackles, with three for losses (-22 yards), including a sack…Jones didn\’t have any huge plays vs. Tennessee, but he still was in on eight tackles…Added four tackles and a sack in Georgia\’s 35-7 loss at South Carolina, but sat out the Kentucky contest with a ankle sprain suffered the week earlier vs. the Gamecocks…Georgia\’s defense was far from soft vs. Florida, handing the Gators a 17-9 loss. The tide of the game changed Jones knocked the ball out of tight end Jordan Reed\’s hands near the goal line, and UGA corner-back Sanders Commings recovered it in the end zone with 2:05 left. The linebacker totaled 13 tackles (12 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and forced and recovered two fumbles vs. Florida, as Jones again earned Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation. “I\’d say we\’re not soft,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “The defense rose to the occasion and everyone fought their tails off.” Of the six turn-overs, the biggest came late, when Jones stripped Reed as the tight end was sprinting toward the goal line in the fourth quarter. If Reed scored, he would have cut Georgia\’s lead to 17-15, just a two-point conversion away from a tie ballgame. “I had a great game, but it\’s about what we did as a defense,” Jones said. “All of us did what we came here to do. We beat the No. 2 team in the nation, and it\’s a great feeling.”…The junior Jones had another big day in Georgia\’s 38-0 win over Auburn, making four tackles, two sacks and five QB pressures on the day it was announced that he was a finalist for both the Lombardi Award and Nagurski Trophy. The next day, he was named a finalist for the Bednarik Award… Jones again showed his versatility in a 42-10 win over Georgia Tech. Even though he\’s most feared as a pass rusher, he had no problem defending the Yellow Jackets\’ option attack, recording nine tackles and 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage…After the game, the Associated Press announced that he was selected their SEC Defensive Player of the Year…Made three of his six tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including two sacks, as he also caused a fumble vs. Alabama in the SEC title clash…Closed out his career with eight tackles (5 solos), two sacks for minus 15 yards, a pressure and a pass break-up in a 45-31 victory over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. The linebacker didn\’t know he had set Georgia\’s single-season record for sacks. He had a look of genuine surprise on his face when a member of the media asked him how it felt to break the record previously held by Bulldogs great David Pollack. “Did I break it?” Jones asked, looking at the reporter and then at coach Mark Richt, eliciting a big smile for his head coach. “I didn\’t even know.”

That should come as no surprise, of course, since neither sack came in a fashion familiar to Jones. The bone-shattering hits and forced fumbles that Georgia fans had become accustomed to over the course of the past two seasons weren\’t present in the Bulldogs\’ win over Nebraska. Instead, Jones was credited with two sacks without touching Corn-huskers quarterback Taylor Martinez on either play. On his first sack, Jones chased Martinez when the quarterback left the pocket and took off toward the right sideline. Martinez fell to the ground 3 yards before the line of scrimmage with Jones in the vicinity.

2011 SEASON

In his first season wearing a Georgia Bulldogs uniform, Jones was a finalist for the Butkus Award and winner of the CFPA Elite Linebacker Trophy…Added first-team All-American honors from The NFL Draft Report, Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association, Walter Camp, ESPN.com, Phil Steele and Sports Illustrated…The unanimous All-SEC first-team choice was named the Atlanta Sports Awards Collegiate Player of the Year and elected one of the team\’s defensive captains…

Recipient of the team\’s Most Valuable Defensive Player Award, as he started all fourteen games at strong-side outside linebacker, ranking second in the league and tied for fifth in the nation with an average of 0.96 sacks per game…Led the SEC and placed 16th in the FBS with an average of 1.39 stops-for-loss per game…Ranked second on the team with 70 tackles, as his 13.5 sacks for minus 90 yards is the third-best season total by a Bulldog, topped by his school record 14.5 sacks in 2012 and David Pollack’s fourteen in 2002…Had 19.5 stops for losses of 103 yards and made 49 of the team’s 158 quarterback pressures…

Posted eight tackles, including a sack at Georgia Tech…Recorded seven tackles with 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a pass break-up vs. Kentucky….Added five tackles, including two sacks, vs. Auburn…Named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Payer of the Week, Walter Camp Award Defensive Player of the Week, CFPA National Defensive Player of the Week, SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week and the Rivals.com SEC Player of the Week after he recorded five tackles, including four sacks, the second most in school history for a single game vs. Florida, as he also forced a fumble….Produced five tackles, including 3.5 for a loss at Tennessee…Registered five tackles, including two sacks vs. Mississippi State…In the Boise State clash, had a season-high eleven tackles, including 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

2010 SEASON

Jones red-shirted at the University of Georgia under NCAA transfer rules after being granted a release from the University of Southern California…Jones attended school as a recipient of the Paul and June Martin Football Scholarship while also performing with the scout team.

2009 SEASON

Jones saw significant action as a backup strong-side outside linebacker and key special team coverage unit member at Southern California…Appeared in the first eight games recording thirteen tackles (5 solos), including 1.5 stops for losses of two yards, but suffered a neck sprain at Oregon and was sidelined for USC\’s last five games…Had a season-high five tackles vs. San Jose State.

INJURY REPORT

2009 Season…Jones suffered a neck injury at Oregon and was sidelined for USC\’s final five games. It was later discovered that Jones has spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the neck canal.  USC doctors would not clear him to play, so Jones sought out other opinions. He was originally cleared by a doctor in North Carolina. He then underwent several tests in Athens, Georgia before being cleared to play for the Bulldogs in June of 2010.  Multiple reports from medical exams at the combine confirmed Jones\’ spinal stenosis. There are differing medical opinions on the condition as it pertains to long-term durability in the NFL.

2012 Season…After a dominant performance that earned numerous defensive honors vs. Missouri, Jones sat out vs. Florida Atlantic because of a nagging groin injury…Left the South Carolina game after spraining his ankle, sitting out the next contest vs. Kentucky.

AGILITY TESTS

4.92 in the 40-yard dash…1.75 10-yard dash…2.78 20-yard dash…4.46 20-yard shuttle…

11.87 60-yard shuttle…7.21 three-cone drill…30 ½-inch vertical jump…9’3” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times…33-inch arm length…9 1/8-inch hands…78-inch wingspan.

HIGH SCHOOL

Jones attended George Washington Carver (Columbus, Ga.) High School, playing football for head coach Dell McGee…Received a four-star prospect grade from Scout.com, as that recruiting service regarded him as the third-best strong-side linebacker in the nation… Was also a four-star pick by Rivals.com, as they regarded him as the nation’s fourth-best weak-side defensive end, placing him seventh overall on the Rivals100 list and third on the Georgia Top 75 chart…After playing tight end in his first two seasons, Jones moved to linebacker before his junior season in 2007…That year, he was named to the Rivals.com All-American first team, earned All-State Class AAA Defensive MVP and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer All-City Defensive MVP honors after posting 157 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, four sacks and two interceptions to help Carver win the 2007 Georgia state AAA title…Was the 2008 Super Prep, Prep Star, USA Today and ESPN All-American…Also earned ESPN 150, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Dream Team, Sporting News Top 100, Super Prep All-Dixie, Prep Star All-Southeast, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11, All-State Class AAA first team and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer All-City Defensive MVP as a senior…That year, Jones recorded 77 tackles, with four tackles for a loss, four interceptions and two forced fumbles, despite being sidelined late in the season for four games with a broken thumb…

Concluded his gridiron career by playing in the U.S. Army All-American Game…Lettered in basketball, earning 2008 All-State honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Georgia Sports Writers Association…Also did well academically, graduating with a 2.9 grade point average.

PERSONAL

Human Development & Family Science…Born 10/13/89 in Richland, Georgia…Resides in Columbus, Georgia.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • charles

    Sounds like a young James Harrison. The SEC in general sports some pretty good competition. Injuries may be the only limitation he has. All told if he is there at 17 we sure have a gaping need at OLB.

  • CP 72

    I go back and forth on this guy. He doesn’t have the height, weight, speed numbers you look for. What he does have is a ton of production. He had 10 more sacks than Mingo in the same conference for 2012. Not sure of the common opponites, but that is a staggering number. He tripled Mingo’s sack total!! This may be a case where the guy is just a football player and not a track athlete.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. I was totally against drafting Jones at first, especially considering we havent seen the full potential of Worilds yet… but the more I think about it, the more I think you cant pass on a player with his kind of production.. and considering the recent injury woes of our OLB’s in recent seasons it would make sense to bolster the position

    It could all be much ado about nothing though, he’ll probably be gone early

  • Lamarr56

    This all depends on how much the steelers believe in Worlids, if they see him as the starter for the future, we’ll pass on him if he’s there. If they think Worlids is not the guy for us, we will pick Jones if he’s there at 17.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m not a LB guy in the first round. But I’ve spent the bulk of my Steelers fandom watching the Steelers be one of a handful of 3-4 teams…therefore only competing with 4-5 teams on the Greg Lloyds, Joey Porters, Jason Gildons, Clark Haggans, Lamar Woodleys and James Harrisons of the world. Times have changed, so I may need to re-think my philosophy.
    The REAL reason I’m probably against it, is because I was blown away by Adrian Robinson’s pass-rush ability in the pre-season last year (even though the actual stats weren’t anything to champion), and also was pleasantly surprised with Worilds once he got some shots…as I had kind of written him off. So I tend to be way less worried about OLB than most are as an urgent need for the Steelers.
    I see nothing on the team as an “urgent” need, but if I were drafting by “need-first” (with both age and mediocre production as the 2 key factors…it should look something like: (safety, TE, ILB, CB, OL, NT, OLB, WR). That’s 8…on personal instinct and assumption only.
    It assumes WAY greater concern on the Heath Miller injury than most…way LESS on the OLB concerns of most…a sincere concern that Troy P. may retire quite soon, and a new inclination toward thinking that Sanders will return, and Starks and Hampton will not. If my assumptions on some of those things prove incorrect before the draft, then my “needs-list” will change.

  • Brendon Glad

    BTW…obviously age was overwhelmingly dominating “mediocre production” with regards to the safeties. They performed very well, once Mundy wasn’t in the mix. Just wanted to clarify before I get killed on here. The O-line was far more mediocre than the safeties. The only reason it isn’t at the top of the list is because I’m going to trust Colbert, and assume that the young OL with very high picks invested, is going to work. So only a “project OL” draft-pick is what I’m hoping is the correct way to do it….even though my guess is that Gilbert is not going to cut it.

  • TsarPepe

    You can’t have elite players at every position, this is a given. But the LB corps is almost synonymous with Steeler football. I feel you absolutely have to have one blue chip talent there. Timmons (note: a first-rounder) is the best of the current crop, but he is just a bit below elite. Woodley is regressing, and Worlids is an unproven commodity that seems to have a ceiling also below elite. It’s time to go and get a major stud for the next 10 years of the Steel Curtain. We just can’t sit around hoping that we’ll again strike gold with the second coming of an undrafted phenom like Harrsion. The potential impact of a Jones cannot be compared with the impact of a Warmack or Cooper.

  • TsarPepe

    The old Steeler wisdom about LBs in the first round needs to be thrown out the window immediately. The value of pass rushers in today’s NFL is through the roof. And pass rush in the 3-4 comes from the two outside LB. With the team’s needs such as they are, I don’t see how can you take a guard, no matter how talented, over a stud rusher like Jones.

  • Nolrog

    Jones is like the anti-Dontarie Poe. Didn’t work out well, but has great game tape against good competition (Poe worked out fantasitc, but had poor tape against so-so competition.)

    I’m worried about his 40 time though. Steelers drop their LBs in coverage a lot (less so with the outside guys, but they still do sometimes), and can he really cover one of those TEs (Gronkowski?)

  • David Edward

    Hi Tsar, by no means am I trying to pick on you and I love football talk regardless and enjoy people’s opinions whether I agree with them or not, but…some of your comments give me the impression that you’ve never played football. At any level of football, the OL is critical and has a major impact. Trust me, I’ve played both positions OLB (and ILB) as well as G. When the OL can dominate like Alabama’s did against Georgia, they can just run the ball and shove it down their throat (like they did), and there isn’t much a great pass rusher like Jones can do (like he didn’t) unless he can play the run well and is strong at the point of attack. Likewise, elite OL can neutralize top pass rushers. Don’t get me wrong, you still need great pass rushers to take advantage of inferior OL, but by all means you need good OL…even at G. Guys like Geno Atkins of Cincy can wreck havoc in the interior, and you need Guards to handle that.

  • Garrett Hunt

    no one can cover Gronkowski

  • SteelerDave

    Nice article and he seems like a kid with decent enough character who has overcome a lot. I’m not against drafting him but having personally dealt with the same spinal diagnosis I do have serious medical doubts on the young man. We have to get this draft right.

    Does he have the talent and the drive to be a great player? Likely yes. Is Jones a safe pick? No.

  • steeltown

    I agree there are risks involved..and personally I wouldnt draft him based on those risks, but there have been other players with s.stenosis to lead productive careers, some more than productive (Michael Irvin, Sterling Sharpe, Chris Samuels) …I guess it all depends on who is still there at #17 as to whether they pull the trigger on him (if he’s even still there)

  • Kysteeler

    That’s exactly how I feel (even though the diagnosis might have been wrong), he scares me in the 1st at 17. If he had ran a 4.5/6 or a little stronger, I might feel better. It’s rather weird how he looks so tight/akward in his 40, but seems decently smooth in other drills.

    *Jones will also be 24 in October, the Steelers seem to like younger players in the 1st.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Uh really? Tell that to Cortez Allen!!

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