Were The Measurables Of Steelers LB Jarvis Jones The Real Reason Why He Dropped In The Draft?

Following the 2013 NFL combine, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, and several others for that matter, had Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones atop their prospect rankings. These rankings were also released after Jones had been poked and prodded by every team doctor who wanted to check out his the spinal stenosis in Indianapolis. In a matter of two months time, Jones found himself still on the board come time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to select the 17th pick of the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

Here is what Kiper wrote about Jones in late February after deciding to sit out the combine.

Jones still must prove he belongs here with his pro day performance. He did not work out in Indianapolis. This reflects positional value and exceptional production for a player who is a very good, if not extraordinary, athlete. He combines explosiveness, discipline, relentless pass-rushing ability and great intangibles and effort. (He can also cover.) He profiles as a 3-4 outside linebacker but fits any system.

Was the poor showing that Jones had at his pro day back in March the reason that he dropped? It appears that way. Despite the claims that tape means more to scouts and front office personnel than measurables, one can\’t help but think that performances in underwear hold some sort value. 16 draft spots of value at that.

For comparison purposes only, I have pulled the measurables of the Steelers linebackers that have been drafted over the years from NFL Draft Scout. A few players\’ numbers, such as James Harrison, I haven\’t tracked down yet, but as you can see in the table below, I have a large sample of both inside and outside linebackers.

As far as explosion ratings go, which is the sum of players\’ bench press reps, vertical jump and broad jump, Jones number of 59.9 comes in second lowest of the players listed. Just so you know, Pat Kirwan says a number of 70 or higher is considered superb.

As far as lateral agility numbers go, which is derived by subtracting the players\’ short shuttle time from his forty time, Jones comes in second to last with a .17 number.

Using the speed score formula that was created by Football Outsiders, Jones again comes in second to last with a 86.4 number.

Now, I must admit that even though Jones has several warts on tape, I would have never guessed that he would have measured as poorly as he did, and I am sure that scouts and front office personnel will tell you the same thing.

The numbers are what they are at this point, and as long as Jones produces once he gets on the field for the Steelers, they will serve as a reminder to us, much as they do with Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, that measurables do not amount to much. Should Jones, however, not live up to his college production, several will point out that there were enough numerical signs on the wall that the Steelers should have seen.

If it wasn\’t, however, the measurables that caused Jones to drop, and it wasn\’t spinal stenosis, why else would he fall that far? Was it the warts on the tape?

Table headings below are sortable:

OLBLaMarr Woodley2007260142664.742938.59.094.420.3277.25105.4
OLBThaddeus Gibson2010460202434.5832329.074.270.3173.58110.5
ILBKendrell Bell2001260122344.642438.510.044.50.1472.53101.0
OLBChris Carter2011560112484.5827369.064.340.2472.5112.7
OLBJason Worilds2010260122544.4924389.14.130.3671.08125.0
ILBLawrence Timmons2007160072344.63253510.034.320.3170.04101.8
ILBMike Humpal2008660242444.68203810.024.190.4968.06101.7
ILBStevenson Sylvester2010560212314.712330.
OLBBruce Davis2008360252524.7819329.114.470.3160.9296.5
OLBClark Haggans2000560332534.972031.
OLBAlonzo Jackson2003260402664.8614379.064.50.3660.4295.4
OLBJarvis Jones2013160232454.882030.59.34.710.1759.986.4
OLBRian Wallace2005560222414.731035.59.043.970.7654.896.3

  • zyzak

    Steelers over reached here but they should know better. What team would have chose him if the Steelers passed on him? Looking like a 2 nd rd pick to me

  • nikgreene

    Can you provide any reasons for thinking this? Jones was a dominant force at OLB for the toughest college conference. I’m not master of game tape, but he makes a lot of splash plays and has great intensity when he plays. Not to mention that he has great character and is very mature. What about all that says 2nd round?

  • LouPGH

    But, but… he ran 40 yards a tenth of a second slower than James Harrison did! Therefore, we should have waited and picked him up as a UDFA, because, you know, he probably would have still been there at the end of the draft. Only the Steelers are stupid enough to take a UDFA in the 1st Round! We went 8-8 last year! God I hate Tomlin and Colbert! They should be taken to the guillotine!

  • Shelob9

    Where are you getting this 40 time for James Harrison? I tried very hard to find his Kent State Pro Day numbers and couldn’t find it. Jones’ 40 time is .07 better than Haggans, who was one of the better OLB we’ve ever had, but not the best like Harrison. By comparing these numbers we arrive at what?

  • walter mason

    Ha ha surely you jest

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    The fact that he stands straight up as he runs around the field at least makes him easy to follow on the film. (As I do face palm.)

  • Maurice_hill_district

    He didnt drop. He was drafted right in the range most experts predicted. And 17 is not low. So your saying he dropped, is flawed.

    Warmack & Cooper & other positions went higher than you mocked, but your mocks were only a couple out of thousands of mocks out there. Kiper’s history is to fall in love with track speeds after college football is entirely done. You quoted Kiper’s summary instead of the NFL’s combine profile website’s summary. Then steered it into track speeds. So looks like you can pick whichever supports whatever shock headline. Watch film of this guy & you’ll see why he went at a nice high spot which is #17.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    LOL you get it! I hope others get that your post is sarcasm.

  • Jason Brant

    Gibson is number two on that list….. yeah….

  • LouPGH

    http://sports [dot] espn [dot] go [dot] com/nfldraft/tracker/player?id=4052

  • Nolrog

    Add Suggs into that list. He’s the one that Jones is most often compared to, because of their 40 times.

  • dave

    My concern with Jones had more to do with the spinal stenosis than the meaureables.
    If you go just by 40 times, Worilds would be the biggest stud on the list.

  • Stephen Dale

    Jones dropped because of the risk of his medical condition as well as the fact he is slow and not good in coverage in space. From film, he is a dynamite passrusher but little else at this time. The Steelers should have traded with minnesota, exchanged No #1’s and picked up 4 additional draft picks ( as NE did later). Colbert said Pittsburgh needed extra picks and he didn’t make it happen—Guess Tomlin wouldn’t let him.

  • SteelSpine

    Agreed. My assumption is to risk a 1st rd pick had to have gotten medical experts pour thru every bit of info about his specific medical condition but because its only my assumption & I’m not comforted by anyone assuming, I want media to ask Steelers’ brass via interview how far did Steelers FO go before draft day, of having medical experts examine possible info about Jarvis’ spinal condition. No conjecture nor assuming from me or other fans makes me comfortable enough about medical condition, instead the brass should make fans more comfortable by saying how far/detailed was medical researched by medical experts before draft day.

  • Based on what i saw on video, Mike Tomlin was lying when he said Jarvis was an “easy” evaluation. Coach Tomlin is a smart guy and a comment like that makes everyone feel good.

    For the good, Jones is indeed a play maker. Meaning he can get to the quarterback (in college), has a nose for the ball and has knack for turnovers. He is explosive when he has a chance to make a “splash” play and I think he sees the ball pretty well. I don’t want to understate how much I appreciate those traits at the position. I think if he developed a move, he could probably be relied upon as a pass rusher in the NFL straight away.

    Problem is, almost every other part of his game is going to need a ton of work. Firstly, in terms of his measurables, let me say to those that say “well, just put on the tape,” that I did. And I think his workout measurables very plainly show up on tape. If he played right now, he would get swallowed up on inside runs because he’s not strong enough or wide enough to take on and shed most NFL lineman. He will get beaten to the edge even if he plays good angles because he is VISABLY SLOW on the football field, against competition. I think he has good quickness in short areas and good get-off but when it comes to running to the football or chasing guys down laterally, he’s plain slow. Against Alabama I thought he got dominated in the run game – most notably by Michael Williams, a big Tight End that will get drafted sometime today.

    He has a habit of over-pursuing play action, misdirection, and general pursuit which further exposes how his measurables work against his ability to recover. In order to effectively do all the things the Steelers will eventually ask him to do and in order to compensate for some of the physical traits he lacks, discipline will have to an important part to his approach.

    I thought in every game I watched that he didn’t always play to the whistle and sometimes assumed teammates would make the play (correctable issues, i suppose).

    He seems to be able to make an impact play in every game rushing the passer, no matter the level of competition. But I felt that his overall game exponentially became less impactful the tougher the competition got. Against Missouri, he looked like one of the best players in the country. Against Florida and Alabama? Not so much.

    There wasn’t much footage that I saw of him being used in coverage so I won’t speculate too much here but I’ll say that based on what I saw physically, he will need to play smart and give space if asked to cover a TE or RB.

    And because of his physical limitations, I personally worry about what his “upside” truly is. I wonder how much bulk and explosiveness his unique frame will allow him to add. Perhaps fulfilling his potential will be based more on how intellectually savvy he can be.

    I’m not attempting to slam Jarvis at all. Just trying to be objective and state what my amateur eyes see. I think he has tremendous potential when it comes creating sacks and turnovers – something every team in the league covets. Something that can win you games. I like Worilds but I don’t think he has 15 sack potential. I think Jones probably does. But I think he’s a ways away from being a + player (to use a hockey term) and if he does become that, Tom Shaw, Keith Butler, Lebeau, and Tomlin will deserve a lot of credit.

  • SteelSpine

    At that point in draft Jarvis was BAA, & at a position of need because we absolutely had to draft a good OLB prospect this year, because LeBeau takes at-least a year to learn, we could not wait til next year’s draft. Our need to draft an OLB this year, to develop, was more necessary than some naysayers think. Right now isn’t like the past when Steelers could risk having to maybe groom college DE on bench for a few years because dependable players were above them on depth chart at both OLB positions. Jarvis is not a conversion DE in college having to convert to LB.

    Jarvis already showed fine instincts at OLB. He has a knack for making plays, & our 3-4 system is based on our OLBs making the plays.

    We all knew we had other positions of need too, but there was a big dropoff in talent from Jarvis to next prospects for OLB, so made sense to go ahead get our OLB need out of the way.

  • dennisdoubleday

    I don’t know how to evaluate players, but your comment about Jones not being impactful against Florida? What is impactful if not 13 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles, one of them the game winner?