The Steelers courted potential 1st round pick OLB Jarvis Jones on Tuesday. Jones is predicted as a first rounder across many fantasy boards. The Steelers are in need of an OLB, and Jones has been talked of high up the Steelers board since he announced his intentions to enter the NFL draft. But is Jones really a good fit for the Steelers?
Quite frankly, I considered Jones a poor pick after his ‘no show’ at the NFL Combine. Despite leading the nation in sacks, tackles, and forced fumbles Jones is a one year starter. He suffered a neck injury during his true freshman year while at USC. He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis – a type of degenerative spinal condition. He transfered to Georgia, and the doctors there cleared him to play. There’s been speculation since then as to the severity of his condition (if it even truly existed). In 2012, he climbed his way back and lead the nation in the aforementioned categories. In my eyes and in many scouts across the country, Jones was one of the best OLB to be had in this year’s draft. However, after his ‘no show’ at the combine, he failed to alleviate any concerns regarding his health. Being a ‘healthy scratch’ for the combine is risky business.
What’s worse for Jarvis Jones is that his Georgia pro day was right up there with dismal. Jones scored a 4.9 on the 40. Something even Mike Mayock deemed as a ‘red flag.’ Many coaches and scouts he talked to thought ‘that was a lot slower than they had expected.’ A 40 time isn’t the end all be all of a players future in the NFL, but Jones weighs 245lbs. Who weighs that much or less and can’t run faster than a 4.7 flat? Despite his overall poor pro day showing, Jones thinks he is one of the best in the draft. Do the Steelers still believe that as well? They have to be if they are bringing this kid in for some meetings in the ‘Burgh. I guess they are trusting the game footage from his last two seasons over a single day. And why not? As PFT made the comparison, Jones’ 40 time is the same as Terrell Suggs’ time when he participated in the combine. And even though he’s the ugliest and jag-filled SOB to grace the NFL, he’s still a pretty damn good football player. So maybe the Steelers see something in Jones that other won’t.
Then again, this could be a huge mistake in a series of them over the past two months. James Harrison, Larry Foote, Victor Butler, Keenan Lewis, Will Allen, James Sanders, Matt Spaeth – just to name a few of the poor personnel moves the Steelers have made before or during the free agency period. As I wrote in my previous post regarding the Steelers, Free Agency, and ‘The Plan’, the Steelers have done seemingly a fairly poor job in retaining key players and losing out on signing players who could plug the dam. As a member of Steeler Nation, I lack the same confidence that perhaps GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin have in how the next 5 months will pan out before the start of the season. But this is just March Talk right?
The other plausible scenario (though most would scoff) is that this is all just a smokescreen. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Kevin Colbert over the last few years of the draft, despite the horrendous outcome of the 2012 class, is that Colbert is very good about refraining from tipping his hand. Jones potentially is a still a hot commodity come draft day. Some have Jones going as early as the 8th pick to the Bills, other have him landing outside of Round 1 into Round 2. Colbert and Co. could be using Jones as a way of screening their true intentions of what they want to do in that first round – such as a play for another player higher on the board by making an aggressive trade.
So which is it, Steeler Nation? Are the Steelers on par with drafting Jones? Is he just another series of 2013 mistakes? Or is he only a decoy for the Steelers’ true intentions come draft day?