Friday, April 26, 2013

Steelers Select Jarvis Jones In The First Round, What Now?

by Jayden and Jason

Ok, so it wasn't safeties Kenny Vaccaro or Eric Reid. If It Ain't Steel never hid the fact that we felt safety should have been the first pick, but outside linebacker was also a true need. So, Georgia product Jarvis Jones it is. Welcome, Mr. Jones.

The only reasons we weren't originally high on him is because the Steelers need help now, this year, and no linebacker has ever started as a rookie in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's system. Also because of the medical condition, Spinal Stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the neural foramina where spinal nerves leave the spinal column), being a potential problem. Not because of a bad Pro Day showing where he ran a 4.9 in the 40-yard dash.

The Steelers medical staff cleared Jones and therefore weren't deterred when it came to zeroing in on him.

"There was no problem," said Steelers GM Kevin Colbert about Jones' medical reports. "The kid has played two seasons without an issue at the University of Georgia. Of course, he has to go through a physical (at the Combine), and just to be sure we made another check when he came in (for his predraft visit). Certainly we're very comfortable with his medical status, or we wouldn't have made that pick. -

The Pro Day results didn't deter them, either. In fact, it encouraged them and, when the time came, the Steelers virtually ran to the podium to select Jones at No. 17. They were elated that Jones dropped that far partially because of both of those concerns.

"When he ran the 4.9, we were happy," Colbert stated. "We knew we had a chance. We didn't even talk to Jarvis at the combine because we didn't think we had a chance."

However, per Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac, another one of the main reasons they were targeting the 6'2 1/2" 245-pound Jones was because "they knew there was a big dropoff in edge rushers after him."

"This kid, when you watch him play, I don't care what he runs," Colbert continued. "He's a football player in every phase of the game, and that's what was really exciting." -

Jones himself is seemingly happy to be in the Steel City and stated so with a succinct tweet:

He also said that he isn't coming in to replace departed OLB James Harrison, whom he called "a beast," saying that "I've got a long work to get to James Harrison."

He compares himself to Harrison, though, in that he's also 'relentless, passionate and a playmaker.' He also called Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor a "mentor" and said that they trained together.

"Ike is one of my best mentors and we train together," said Jones. "He just talked about how great the program is and what their defense means up there. It means a whole lot. They take pride in what they do." -

That means he's a client of Tom Shaw at his World Wide Sports Complex in Florida. As is well known, Ike and fellow cornerback William Gay work with Shaw every offseason, and CB Cortez Allen is now a client as well.

So Jones is in good company and is starting off on a good foot.

Now that the first round is out of the way, it’s time to look at rounds two and three. Think wide receiver and safety tonight. We're not sold that they "absolutely must draft a running back before today ends," as Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette put it. A quality back can be gotten in round four as well. Texas A&M's Christine Michael and UCLA's Johnathan Franklin very well could be available. The only way it becomes necessary is if, as Bouchette also pointed out, "since none was taken in the first round....There also likely will be a run on them, so they will go fast."

If so, then go ahead and take one today. The Steelers backfield is in need of an every-down back. The only way they don't go after one at all is if they're still interested in free agent runner Ahmad Bradshaw who has now been fully medically cleared. -

They have to get a safety, there is absolutely no depth or viable experience behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, and wide receiver is high on the priority list also. Safety first, because there only a few high-quality players remaining, whereas there are several wide receivers still available.

Below is Mike Mayock’s top 20 remaining available players:
1. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
3. Jonathan Cyprien, FS, Florida International
4. Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
5. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
6. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
7. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
8. Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
9. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
10. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
11. Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
12. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
13. Keenan Allen, WR, California
14. D.J. Swearinger, SS, South Carolina
15. Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
16. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
17. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
18. Cornelius Washington, OLB, Georgia
19. Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
20. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

While several of those will still be around when the Steelers pick in the second round, the italicized players are those that we want or think that the Steelers might target. That doesn't include players they brought in for pre-draft visits or whose Pro Day's were attended, such as Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton, Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell, USC wide receiver Robert Woods, Georgia free safety Bacarri Rambo and West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey.

Both ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper and Scouts Inc. project the Steelers to select strong safety D.J. Swearinger next. The only concern is that he doesn't have ideal speed, 4.67/40 at the NFL Combine, but Swearinger is intimidating and fits the Steelers' mold of safety.

We'll see very soon as the draft weekend continues.