It’s time for another installment of my “2013 Mock Draft Analysis!” On Monday, Josh Sanchez of Fansided.com unveiled his new and updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft. In his Mock, Sanchez projected the Steelers to select Jarvis Jones with their 1st Round pick and Johnathan Hankins with their 2nd Round pick:
Jarvis Jones was falling in the draft due to questions about his health, but he claimed the problem wasn’t that serious and the doctors have apparently agreed. After clearing up the issues about his health, Jones is back to being a top prospect and that’s good news for the Steelers. Pittsburgh needs a lot of things and one of those things is an outside linebacker moving forward. Jones can step right in and be a much needed breath of fresh air for a defense that is aging and needs injections of youth and talent all over the map.
I had Hankins going in the first round a few months back, but it’s looking like Hankins is a second round talent. The Steelers need help to reset the aging process on defense, and Hankins is a guy that can help achieve that up front.
While I believe that there are other better choices for Pittsburgh to make in Round 1, I would not be upset in the least if they made the former Georgia Bulldog their 1st round selection.
Jones (6’2″ 245 lbs.) would be a solid addition to Pittsburgh’s defense, and the outside linebacker possesses the pass-rushing tools to help the Steelers in sub-package situations early in his career. While I do not agree with Sanchez that Jones will step in right away and basically start in Pittsburgh’s complex defensive scheme, his value as a pass-rusher should allow him to see the field on passing-downs to chip in and help collapse the pocket.
Working Jones in slowly would give him time to develop his game as an all-around outside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense, as well as become a better run-defender in terms of using his leverage to set the edge in a more effective manner.
Of course, many have trashed Jones as of late because of his poor workout at Georgia’s Pro Day last month. Although Jones’ performance was definitely underwhelming, the productivity and the pass-rushing skills he showed during his career at Georgia were terrific. I certainly do not believe that Jones plays at 4.9/40 speed, and the former Bulldog was at his best against some of Georgia’s best competition during his two-year stay in Athens (2011-2012: 155 tackles, 28.0 sacks, 45.0 tackles for loss).
I will however say that Jarvis’ spinal stenosis condition does worry me. But as long as he is medically cleared to play, then I would have no issue with the Steelers taking a long look at him. Although I would rather see Colbert & Co. target other players than Jones in Round 1 (Kenny Vaccaro, Matt Elam, Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, and Arthur Brown), I would definitely be on board if Pittsburgh made him their 1st Round pick.
While I would be pleased to see the Steelers select Jones, I cannot say that I would be happy at all to see them select the massive (6’3″ 320 lbs.) Johnathan Hankins.
I for one do not think that Pittsburgh’s brass need to add a nose tackle to their team’s roster at the moment. Furthermore, I believe that spending a high-round pick on Hankins would be a mistake for the rebuilding franchise like the Steelers.
The Steelers already have Steve McLendon in line to replace veteran Casey Hampton, and Alameda Ta’amu and Hebron Fangupo are set to battle for the backup job. Sure, Colbert & Co. could add a “human anchor” like Hankins to their roster. But why would a team carry a total of four nose tackles on their roster, especially when there is a need for help almost everywhere else on the defensive side of the ball?
Although Hankins was a talented and productive player for the Buckeyes (2012: 55 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, All-Big 10 honors), his issues with his weight and his overall “motor” will likely be enormous causes for concern for any team that wants to select him on the first two days of “Draft Weekend.”
With so many other needs on their roster at the moment, the idea of adding a player with questions like Hankins to the roster at a position where depth is actually existent makes little to no sense. Then again, no move will shock me during this upcoming draft process, and Colbert & Co. could go “Best Player Available” no matter what the position is at any time.
Sanchez was definitely right when he said that the Steelers need help on the defensive side of the ball. Not only does Pittsburgh’s defense lack depth at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, free safety, and strong safety, they could be dangerously thin at cornerback and defensive end by the time next spring rolls around too!
My hope is that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will actually try to work the young talent acquired through the draft into the lineup on occasion. I mean, unless Pittsburgh’s defensive guru wants to sit them for two years, play them for two, and then see them leave for greener pastures in free agency a la Keenan Lewis.
I am just crossing my fingers that the Steelers can find some impact defensive players on “Draft Weekend,” because that entire unit will need to be rebuilt over the coming years.