Categorized | 2013 Draft, 2014 Schedule, Article

Steelers 2013 Draft Class Review – QB Landry Jones


By Matthew Marczi

It has been a theme for many years that, aside from the occasional special teams contributions, rookies on the Pittsburgh Steelers, including even first-round draft picks, rarely contribute during their first season. That has been especially true over the years on defense, though less so on offense.

That pattern changed somewhat in 2013 due to a variety of circumstances, both foreseen and unforeseen, as many rookies—even undrafted players—got a good chunk of playing time on both sides of the ball. Therefore, there’s more to go on than usual when speaking about how their rookie seasons went.

Player: Landry Jones

Draft Status: 4th round (115th overall)

Snaps: 0

Starts: 0

It’s been no secret that the majority of the Steelers’ fan base was not thrilled with the selection of quarterback Landry Jones in the middle of the fourth round of this past NFL Draft.

That a quarterback was taken so high when a franchise quarterback is already in place and a competent back up was also signed in the offseason was, for many who follow the team, already bad enough.

But to make matters worse, the Steelers elected to trade away a future third-round pick in order to acquire the 2013 fourth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, which was just four spots ahead of where the Steelers were already drafting.

Pittsburgh used that first fourth-round pick to draft safety Shamarko Thomas, which many believe would have still been available just a few picks later. Most would be in agreement that they would rather have Thomas and a 2014 third-round pick than to have Thomas and Jones in 2013.

In other words, Jones came to Pittsburgh already with a lot of animosity toward him before setting foot in the team facility. However, with the departure of Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich, the team’s two long-time backup quarterbacks, it was necessary to get another body into the room in addition to Bruce Gradkowski.

Did it have to be Jones? Of course not. But the Steelers liked something about him, as did some former scouts and general managers. Some argued that his college production in his final two seasons was hindered by a new coaching staff and a new system and that his true potential was shown a couple years back.

That didn’t really show up when it came time to play in the preseason, but even before that, several writers including Jim Wexell commented on just how unimpressive his arm looked, which was unable to cut through the Pittsburgh wind during practices.

Simply put, Jones did not look very good during the preseason, both from a statistical and technical standpoint. He completed just 30 of 66 passes for 348 yards, and while he threw two touchdown passes—one of which was a nice deep ball to Markus Wheaton—he also threw three interceptions as he unraveled against the Carolina Panthers.

Needless to say, the Steelers would like to see a lot of improvement from Jones next year, even though he still won’t be counted on as the backup quarterback. And realistically, that is his long-term potential.

If he can’t reach that point by the end of his rookie contract, then we can truly look back on the team’s moves in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and call it a big miss. Of course, we still have plenty of time before that, but that won’t stop the debates that began the second his named was called.

Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers 2013 Draft Class Review – LB Jarvis Jones
Steelers 2013 Draft Class Review – RB Le’Veon Bell
Steelers 2013 Draft Class Review – WR Markus Wheaton
Steelers 2013 Draft Class Review – S Shamarko Thomas

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • cp72

    Bill Polian said he was the best quarterback in the draft. Let’s give the kid a year or two more to develope before we write him off it’s not a position you come in and light it up right away. He may never be any good but it’s WAY to soon to say it was a wasted pick.

  • Callentown

    I agree that you have to give any young player, especially developing QB’s, time.

    For Polian to suggest that Jones was the best QB in the draft though…?? He’s smoking something. The best QB in the draft would not have looked this dismal when he saw the field.

    As we have all seen, others have come in and started year one and been effective.

  • Callentown

    Still a question while, as Marczi points out, they could have brought in another QB in other ways too.

    There were players available that could have helped ‘NEED’ positions on this team as soon as last year. Then to trade a THIRD!!

    Just ouch man. Very ouch.

    Should be noted none of this is Landry’s fault though..

  • steeltown

    Thank you for atleast pointing out that while we all want to see improvement from him, we have plenty of time, he is a developmental guy that was extremely productive in college, He could be become a viable backup in 2-3yrs time

    While I’ll always love and miss Charlie Batch, I am also just sooo happy to be past the old Leftwich and Dixon days

  • steeltown

    I think in the end, the FO saw Shamarko and Landry both as 3rd Rd prospects, so when they saw them both there in the 4th they made a move, considering comp picks they should acquire this year

  • Callentown

    I agree. As a fan, I look at it as two picks (2013 4th and 2014 3rd) for one player that may not become anything for them.

    This is the part that stings I think.

  • cp72

    Wasn’t the traded to draft Shamarko?

  • dgh57

    I think Big Ben is signed for two more years through the 2015 season and there is talk of his contract being extended beyond that even. So what was the hurry in drafting a QB this soon? He can take over for Gradkowski but again he’s signed for 2 more years also! I kinda also feel bad for L. Jones in that he probably feels he has enough talent to play in the NFL but he may have to wait many years to get on the field of play.

  • Callentown

    I don’t recall. I was going by what Marczi wrote above.

  • CrazyTerry

    This guy is no Russell Wilson. Steelers messed up big by letting Hoyer go and keeping Leftwich for the whole year. I would have been comfortable with Batch as a 3rd QB for one more year buying us another year to look for that hidden gem QB in the draft. THe scouts who wanted Landry need to be examined. It’s one thing if he had trouble with the transition from college to pro. But his arm couldn’t even handle the throws? How do you miss that while scouting him?

  • CrazyTerry

    WHat makes you think this guy will be better than Dixon. hell, I don’t think he will be even as good as Dixon. I can’t see this guy being competitive with a good rival team like Dixon was in his first start.

  • DrakePirate

    He will never be “Good” am a huge OU fan and that was easily evident by his college play regardless of what Polian said … but here is to hoping he can eventually be a quality back up at some point .. which i think is best 50/50 now

  • DrakePirate

    he was in no way anywhere near the best … polian was definitely high on something

  • DrakePirate

    i personally would have never wasted anything above a 5th comp or 6th pick on L.Jones … was not a fan of him in college … but if he learns the system and gets comfortable which i think is the key for him .. he can step in for a game or 2 and be decent

  • DrakePirate

    i agree batch could have been the 3rd for one more year and we should have looked fro a better back up project in this years draft

  • Callentown

    Just checked. You’re correct cp72!

  • Matthew Marczi

    I wrote that the acquired pick was used to draft Thomas, not Jones. The point was that they ‘traded up’, using a future pick, to get a pick four spots ahead of their own to assure that they get Thomas, when many believed they could have still drafted him with their natural fourth-round pick.

  • Madi

    Well, yeah, if you trust Jim Wexell more than the Steelers’ scouts. Not saying you’re wrong, but it’s far from a confirmed fact that Jones doesn’t have the arm for the NFL.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    You may be on to something – I think Dixon is out of practice squad eligibility (with the Bills last yr), so either he’s full-time with Buffalo or becomes a FA. That being said despite his superiority to Landry, the FO “has” to keep Landry for a “while” because he was actually drafted and hence to save face more or less.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Batch was done years ago. We were long over due for a new back ups.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Finally someone with some common sense on the issue.

  • Jason C.

    I think it’s missing the point if you think Landry Jones was a 100% lock to take over for Roethlisberger, extension or not. How many times in the past few seasons have we seen the need for a capable back up? And this kid has the measurables, and was productive at a major school. Worth a 4th round flyer… how many other 4th round picks never make squads?

  • steeltown

    You’re joking right…?

  • steeltown

    Superiority to Landry? Where do you guys come up with this stuff? Dixon has been in the League for 5yrs and cant find a place or stick anywhere (not even with Kelly in Philly) Landry is still getting his feet wet. In time we’ll see if he ever develops into a pro QB, but we already now Dixon is not

  • DrakePirate

    yes he was done, but we had Grad as the new back up which would suffice and Batch was like another QB coach and veteran in the locker room which was fine … point is they pressed to get Landry which i think we should have waited for something better !

  • Brian Miller

    I agree…Dixon was not good enough…listen, if you can’t stick with the Bills, your fate is sealed. That being said, I am also glad we have moved on from the geriatric backup squad we had in Batch and Leftwich. I am really glad we have Gradkowski and I hope we keep him for the next 3 years at least (I believe he is under contract for the next season).

  • Callentown

    Thanks for clearing up! Nice job on presenting this somewhat volatile issue for fans MM.

  • Brian Miller

    I don’t disagree that a developmental QB was needed longterm, and I don’t disagree that we can’t make snap judgements on Jones just from 1 year. How many players would we have cut just off of the first year alone if that were the case? But, as the article mentions, most people were upset with the timing of the pick, especially in a year where we had so many needs. It just left a lot of people shaking their heads, myself included. I am as optimistic as anyone and will hold out hope that the FO knows what they are doing because as history shows they usually do, but I still would have like to wait on this one.

  • Scot Hickerson

    If Landry had gone to the NFL his Junior Year, he would have gone ahead of Tannehill and Brandon Weedon in the draft and was ranked third by Kiper that year and would have been a first rounder.. Jones is a much better QB than people give him Credit for.. He way out performed a ton of QB’s who people call very good. in college against tough competition with no defense, .. The Steelers third string OL was was worse the first string so Jones didn’t get much of a chance to show what he could do.. He did throw the first TD pass and did as well as Gradkowski.. The Steelers will cut Gradkowski and Jones will be the back up this year especially since Hailys offense will stretch Bens Career and there are salary cap concerns.. Every QB struggles as a rookie, RG3 was an exception last year but not this year. Jones will be a starter if not for the Steelers then Somewhere else..

  • Scot Hickerson

    DrakePirate You are a complete Idiot, If Jones had the defense that the team this year had he would have won a national championship. Ou’s offense this year was pathetic and non existent up until the sugar bowl.. Jones and Sam Bradford will both be successfull in the NFL and Jones is much better than a lot of current NFL starters..

  • DrakePirate

    OU typically doesnt have pro quality QBs … Im not sure what winning a national championship has to do with being a successful QB in the pros … Not really making ur point … Just how many of those florida QBs that won the heisman or championship panned out …

    Im spot on when it comes to evaluating QBs … Last time i was wrong was 1989 – Andre Ware … So believe me when i tell u Jones is not a starting NFL QB …

    For future reference … Remember who told u first … Manziel & Winston ( 2 last heisman and last year champs) are both big BUSTS at the next level … Winston more so than Manziel , Johnny Football will either get injured, head case off field problem or flame out … Either way they aint making it !

  • Scot Hickerson

    How is his college play make it evident that he won’t be a starter.. He made a handful of mistakes that would have not mattered if he had a decent defense. First of all what college typically does have pro Quality QB’s. Its the hardest position in football and the most successful are few and far between and have come from many different systems and teams.. I still think that the best indicator is how successful you are in college.. if you suck in college then you aren’t going to be good in the NFL no matter how good your foot work is.. The big twelve has produced a ton of NFL starting QB’s and Landry holds all the records and is one of the best to come out of the big twelve.. Landry won 40 games and threw for 16,000 plus yards and 123 TD’s against very tuff competition. He was a bargain in the 4th and will get his chance to start some where soon.. Winston will do as good as ej manuel does. Manzel will be fine.. There is no rhyme or reason for who the best is

  • CrazyTerry

    Yet he had the most impressive win against a Ravens team by a Steelers QB in recent years. He had excellent command of the huddle at short notice and executed those screen passes with good qiuckness. He was horrible the game before. But how many QBs with so few reps, and whose rhythm is constantly interrupted by your RBs fumbling would be much better? Hell, Ben had a worse game against the Browns a few years ago. So it can happen to the best of them.

  • CrazyTerry

    We gave up a 3rd round pick this year to get him in the 4th round. that is what is annoying about this pick. It’s OK to be proactive about QBs, but with so many needs, what did they see in Landry that they felt that he was worth the opportunity cost of not filling one of those other needs.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It is funny because when I wrote this statement I knew this would be the comment I would get. It was a great performance but that doenst mean his career wasnt long over. You could bring back any old QB’s and they could come up with a great game. I love batch and what he brought to this team but the move for Landry in the draft was long over due whether any of us like it.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Not sure they pressed for Landry. He was a GREAT VALUE when we picked him. Whether we think it was needed is another story but the value of the pick was incredible.

  • steeltown

    It was a 3yr deal I believe, so I think he’s under contract through 2015

  • Rikki Giaro

    I haven’t been able to figure out either of the picks, neither makes any sense to me. If Pittsburgh was just looking for a number 3 Qb ,one could be picked up as a FA. Thomas I just love how the kid hits, but he is far to short to play saftey in todays game. Offensive coordinators will be salivating to match up Thomas with their TE’s, 6’3 and up against 5’8 he doesn’t have a chance.

  • DrakePirate

    Jones was a system QB at OU much like Heupel, Hybl & White … obviously with a little more tools, but he did not have the presence (happy feet) consistency in big games and couldn’t make all the throws that a pro needs to make … he just does not have “it” i dont really know where u are coming from .. but i have to doubt your talent eval abilities if you think he is a future starter ever in the NFL … and sorry but Manziel will not be fine … and yes there are reasons for why QBs in the NFL are successful …. its called “Talent” !!!

  • DrakePirate

    You are obviously a Jones Homer if u really believe what you are writing .. never going to happen !

  • DrakePirate

    i dont know how u think it was great value …. Landry either has Pro potential or not … and being very familiar with his play and talent level, i was not thrilled at the pic at all … so i have to disagree with the value comment !

  • Scot Hickerson

    I’m really tired of these arm chair talent evaluators who don’t know squat. Hailey’s new offence is looking a lot more like what Ou ran and ben had one of his best years is Ben a syst em QB. Maybe Payton Manning is just a system qb and has no talent? All your claims against jones are false . Jones won 40 games lost 11 won a ton of big games. Jones was sacked only 52 times in 2183 attempts and Ben was sacked what 40 plus this year. l Have seen him make all the throws. I’m sorry but to say someone who threw for 16.6K Yards in 51 games has no talent is just plain idiocy. Talent should always be tied to production.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Going into his senior year he was expected to be a 1st rounder and even after a poor senior year he was expected to go into the 2nd round. May I remind you we got him in the middle of the 4th…that equals GREAT VALUE!!!

  • DrakePirate

    Who are You … ??? Talent tied to production in college that is one of the most naive statements i have ever heard … you are lost man and dont know football at ALL … if you think that landry will ever be a starting quality QB in the NFL … i am not 99% sure but 100% sure of my statements and i would back that up with ANY amount of money !!! sorry bud but it aint ever happening … like i said … lets hope he learns the steeler offense, becomes more comfortable and eventually turns into a quality back up … I would be very happy with that !

  • Scot Hickerson

    Of course talent is tied to production especially at QB. Are you retarded or something. You can’t say that a QB who only completed 49% of his passes and only threw for 1800 yards and 25 interceptions a year has talent. or a Landry Jones who completed 63% of his passes and 16600 yards has no talent The best in college and the pros are also at the top of the different statistical catagories like yards, completion% and TD’s why is that do you think? Of course there are timmy changs and colt brennans, who don’t make it but those guys are short, small school, no competition guys.. but there are never any QB’s at the bottom of the Stats in College that even make the pros.. To say Landry sucks is just down right prejudice with all the evidence pointing in the other direction. Jones may be Ben’s Replacement if the team can’t afford his contract..

  • DrakePirate

    u need to just stop posting … !!

  • Scot Hickerson

    you always know when you win the debate after the other guy just says you need to shut up. Lol

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