Jones participates in an uneventful Pro Day. Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Meet With Jarvis Jones – Are The Offseason Mistakes Continuing?

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?



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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Jarvis Jones Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Dom DiTolla

    “March Talk” or not, I think it is still a good idea to bring Jones in for a visit. The former Bulldog racked up 28.0 sacks and 44.0 tackles for loss over the last two years, and was very productive during SEC play. Sure, his pro day might have been off, but the outside linebacker did not play at “4.9, 40 speed” in the games I watched. As long as his spinal stenosis is not an issue, he represents great value at #17 overall, and would fill a huge need at weakside-outside linebacker.

    And even if Colbert & Co. aren’t interested in Jones, they might as well make teams around the league believe that they are interested in him to disguise their true intentions until draft weekend. They have done their due diligence with projected mid-Round pass-rushers like Corey Lemonier, Stansly Maponga, and John Simon over the last two months though.

  • Nine

    I don’t care how fast he runs a 40, I only care how fast he gets to the quarterback.

    • Craig

      Good point. Let’s hope then that most quarterback clocks are on the slow end then.

  • Jake Bendrick

    James Harrison ran 4.85. Suggs ran 4.8. Jared Allen ran 4.88. I’m guessing the NFL is littered with exceptional players who did not run 4.7 or better, and as for the size/speed ratio, Harrison is a pretty good comparison. The issue with Jones is that he relies on his natural talent and puts in little work to find the next level. Frankly, this looks like a smoke screen, with other, more likely LB candidates visiting the same day. As for criticizing Colbert and co. for their offseason moves, it seems more an attempt to take a contrarian viewpoint, than any kind of well-thought, fact-based argument. Spaeth knows the system and can be plugged in. While he’s not Heath Miller, I seem to remember him being part of super bowl teams. Larry Foote has always been solid. Harrison has been so ineffective and injury prone he can’t seem to find work anywhere… and for all the drama over Keenan Lewis, the same argument you use for Jones could be used for him. He was a one year starter who benefitted from scheme, and who made no splash plays on a defense that has been built to create them. I’ll take Cortez Allen for less $, and for all those who want to criticize the William Gay signing, the guy was the starter, or part time starter, for 2 superbowl teams. The arrogance of Steeler fans (and yes, I am one) is shocking at times. That we expect the team leadership to wave a magic wand every year and produce a perfect team is ridiculous. Great groups of players get old. There is always a changing of the guard. A level-headed, objective fan would look for answers, and judgment, concerning the current experiment, by the end of the 2014 season. If this team is not back on the upswing by then with the talent they’ve added in the past few years, then we can look to the drafts and free agency periods and criticize, but to discount players like Worilds who haven’t had a shot at being the guy because of the talent in front of him… I’ll give the Steelers brass the benefit of the doubt, temper my expectations as their most recent dynasty winds down, and will support and be excited as the next group matures. Whatever. If you’re going to be critical, at least try to do so with some semblance of logic and reason.

    • Bryan Tinsley

      Gay was torched when he was a starter. He is better in the nickle but if you have watched any games you should see he isnt good. Go watch the Green Bay Super Bowl. Watch the season he “started” and see who everyone threw the ball towards (not Ike Taylor). You post was reasonable until the WIlliam Gay comments. He is not good.

  • Jeff Johnson

    I think Tomlin, Colbert and Lebeau would know if he fits and is right for their system or not much better than you do

    • Craig

      Thanks for sharing?

  • Jake Milman

    I don’t think he’s a good pick. 1 year starter, and he doesn’t have that intimidation factor when he hits. He’s a solid tackler, but we need someone to put fear into offenses’ again. I’d rather take Ogletree (despite his issues) or a safe pick with Vacarro, that’s if we can’t trade down. Plenty of defensive depth in this draft.

  • Jeff Johnson

    His poor pro day gave the steelers a chance to draft him. If he had a good one, they would never of had a chance