Steelers UDFA OLB Howard Jones Possesses Speed And Chip On Shoulder

As evidenced by their selections of inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, running back/wide receiver Dri Archer and wide receiver Martavis Bryant in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a need for speed. That need for speed also carried over to the undrafted free agents that they signed as well with the addition of Shepherd outside linebacker prospect Howard Jones.

While Jones 4.54 40-yard dash time at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine in February is certainly nothing to sneeze about, he told that his nerves got the best of him while in Indianapolis. According to the report, he posted hand-held times of 4.38, 4.33 and 4.36 for two scouts during a March workout.

The 6-2 Jones weighed 235 pounds in Indianapolis, so he will probably be asked by the Steelers to put on some weight between now and the start of training camp.

“You’ve got to eat. You need to be at least 245 to get to a camp,” is reportedly what one Kansas City Chiefs scout told him.

To help with that weight gain, Shepherd assistant football coach Jeremy Overfelt has advised Howard to get busy drinking shakes.

During his college career, Jones registered 35 sacks and 69.5 tackles for loss in 47 games played. He started 46 of those games, so he does have experience underneath his belt, even if it is at the small school level.

During the pre draft process, Jones was characterized as a “poor man’s Dee Ford” during the combine, according to Rob Rang of CBS Sports. Dee Ford, who is also 6-2, weighed in at the combine at 252 pounds. He was selected 23rd overall in the draft by the Kansas City Chiefs after registering 20.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss in 42 games played at Auburn.

Despite his speed and eye-popping college production, Jones is considered a long shot right now to make the Steelers final 53 man roster out of training camp. Being as he was an undersized pass rushing defensive end at Shepherd, he must now make the transition to playing standing up as an outside linebacker. Thanks to the Steelers lack of depth at the outside linebacker position, however, he probably couldn’t have chose a better team to sign with. At least the numbers say he has a chance.

After Jones agreed to terms with the Steelers, who had to outbid the Arizona Cardinals for his services, he admitted he was disappointed that he wasn’t drafted after being told by several teams that they had interest in him

“I’m mad and happy,” Jones said. “It puts a bigger chip on my shoulder.”

Jones will likely bring that chip with him to the Steelers rookie mini camp that gets underway this weekend. Hopefully he brings a few of those shakes with him as well.

  • Steelers12328882

    I really hope this guy beats out Chris Carter, but he’s probably destined for the practice squad.

  • Sonny-James

    Chris Carter hasn’t played like we had hoped. Howard, we are pulling for you.

  • Andre

    What do you think about Dorian Bell coming to camp as a try out along with CB Corey Brown and RB Jordan Hall?

  • 20Stoney

    Carter will somehow get 2 sacks in the final preseason game and screw us all!!

  • Steelers12328882


  • dgh57

    We could use a Ramon Foster like player to emerge from the depths of the UDFA ranks at OLB due to the uncertainty of signing Worlds to a long term contract, to get rid of Carter, and lastly to save a draft pick in next years draft. Hopefully Howard Jones is the guy!

  • Superdriller316

    I can’t wait to see what Joey can do with this guy.

    Camp Phenom…. I’m calling it.

  • Matt Manzo

    DBell was ranked pretty high in one draft mag I saw. Seems like another fast LB who’s got experience but went to a small school!

  • Matt Manzo

    I like having Chris Carter as a barometer! If they can’t beat him out they can’t play!

  • shawn

    howwwww true lol !

  • shawn

    u know it never surprises me how diverse and split opinions can be on here … BUT it is amazing how unanimous everyone is against Carter !!!

  • shawn

    another funny but true one liner !

  • Bobby Funk

    with that speed, make him a defensive back.

  • steeltown

    Rooting for this kid. Yet another prospect that might just be a steal so to speak as udfa, he could’ve easily been drafted in the later Rds

  • Toddy Bravo

    Carter has clearly not taken the step to the next level (yet), but I’ve learned my lesson over the years to not write players off entirely, the latest example being Jason Worilds. He was ridiculed mercilessly for being a draft bust. People said he couldn’t even win the backup job, just like they’re saying with Carter now. Then something clicks, he gets the transition tag and the discussion amongst fans turns to whether he’s going to get a long-term deal.

  • westcoasteeler

    That’s what I’m saying. If he’s running under 4.4 try him at CB. Then still get rid of Carter.

  • cencalsteeler

    If Howard Jones doesn’t make the squad, No one,.. no one,….is to blame.

  • Dan

    The Steelers outbid the Cardinals for his services? I didn’t realize there was bidding involved in the undrafted FA process, but it makes sense. I’m sure these are neglible amounts in terms of a salary cap, but it’s interesting to think how intense teams’ courting of FA’s must be since they reduced the draft to seven rounds. Must be quite a process.

  • Matt Manzo

    Worilds was hampered by injuries earlier. Carter hasn’t shown anything with the chances he’s gotten.
    I don’t like giving up on players either but Carters leash is short this year!

  • Johnny Loose

    From UDFA J.H. to UDFA H.J. It has been done before him. I bet he really brings it at camp. Good luck to him. P.S. isn’t a bad gig to get your foot in the door

  • mrljboyce

    If I gave Jones my appetite, he would be at 245 within a week…