If I’m being honest, I’ve never been a big Jarvis Jones fan. I thought in college he was a much better pass-rusher than run defender and was more of an opportunistic player than one who created plays for himself.
He is slightly over-aged for the NFL, (Will already turn 25 in October) and has a neck issue that forced him off USC’s team. But the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Jones 17th overall in the 2013 draft as an eventual replacement for either LaMaar Woodley or Jason Worlids. One year later, Woodley is gone and it’s time for Jones to prove his first round tag for the Steelers.
And after reviewing his film from his rookie year, I still have my doubts. According to our friends at Pro Football Focus, Jones played 646 snaps in his rookie year. Of those 646 snaps, he rushed the passer 308 times and recorded just one sack and two quarterback hits. Those numbers, even for a rookie, are a little worrisome. And his only sack came against a running back. Take a look:
What makes me worried about him is the fact that first round picks who have had one or fewer sacks in their rookie year have not had a great track record in the NFL. Take a look:
Now there are a few names on that list that did turn into good pass rushers (Ingram, Jordan) but most of those players are 4-3 OLB’s or were busts in the NFL. Will Jones be able to turn his pass-rushing career around in year two? The Steelers hopefully think so.
The one thing I was surprised with was Jones ability to play in the run game in the NFL. He was much more stout and discipline later in the year than I ever saw at Georgia. Here is an example against Cleveland where Jones grabs the tight end and slams him down the line, closing off any running lane for the back.
I believe Jarvis Jones will have a better 2014 and the Steelers are counting on it. With the release of LaMaar Woodley and Jason Worlids playing on the transition tag, the Steelers are locked into Jones as their premier pass rusher for the next few years. Will he live up to his 17th overall draft position? I don’t know, but the Steelers need him to in order for their defense to thrive.