The Pittsburgh Steelers recently drafted linebacker Jarvis Jones from the University of Georgia with their first-round, 17th-overall pick. Jones is a 6″3″, 241-pound outside linebacker who excelled in pass rushing in his career at Georgia. His last year he finished with a nation best 14.5 sacks. He also finished with 24.5 tackles for loss and a school record and SEC leading seven forced fumbles.
The success he had his junior year led him to forgo his senior year and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. At his pro day, he ran a disappointing 4.9 40-yard dash — well, disappointing for most teams. The Steelers saw it as an opportunity knowing that team would pass him up just based on that and there was a chance for him to drop to them. The Steelers’ personnel were very impressed with the rest of his workout and wanted him even more after watching his pro day.
So what will he bring to the Steelers?
What impact will he make in his rookie season as well as throughout his career?
Well first of all he will bring a prominent pass rush to a Steelers defense that finished in the middle of the pack in total sacks (37) last year. He will also be able to be a playmaker and a game changer like Troy Polamalu who seems to be coming to the end of his career. The way he can chase down the quarterback and force bad throws can lead to interceptions, and he showed last year that he is especially skilled at making the ball-carrier put the ball on the ground. He has a motor that doesn’t stop and you can always find him getting to the ball. I expect him to be starting by the end of the season.
There is room for concern though, as there always is with young players. At Georgia, Jones was just the best athlete on the field and he was able to roam free and make his own instinctive reads. This is a problem because the Steelers now need to teach him how to play a role in a particular scheme.
Once Dick Lebeau (Steelers defensive coordinator) can work with then he will become very productive for what the Steelers are trying to achieve. This is the only reason I do not see him starting Week 1 but once he does get in there he will be able to make an instant impact.
This was the right pick for the Steelers to make with the departure of James Harrison to the Cincinnati Bengals. With Jarvis Jones coming in the Steelers will now have another long term pass rushing outside linebacker who can step in and take Harrison’s spot.
Jones will also pay a large role in stopping the rushing attacks that the Steelers have to face within their own division including Ray Rice and Trent Richardson. Jones will be the first step in improving the Steelers defense and propelling them to the top of their division and another deep run in the postseason.
Jones is a classic Pittsburgh pick and his toughness and grittiness will even have some fans reminiscing about the old days in Pittsburgh.