The Steelers pick of Georgia OLB jarvis Jones in Round 1 of the NFL draft certainly didn't come as a huge surprise (by the way, check out that mock. That guy crushed it through about the first 19 picks). Jones was very productive in college and fits a need for a team that decided to cut ties with James Harrison and can't be completely sold on Jason Worilds. I thought Jones or Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro would be the pick and when New Orleans took Vaccaro at 15 and Buffalo surprised everyone with E.J. Manuel at 16, the Steelers couldn't get the card up to the podium fast enough. Kevin Colbert joined me on our Draft Coverage show on 970 ESPN shortly after the pick and was smiling ear-to-ear. He felt Jones was one of the 6-8 elite players in this draft and hadn't originally thought the Steelers would ever have the opportunity to get him. In his mind Jones' slow 40 time acutally benefitted the Steelers and caused Colbert to set up a meeting through Jones' agent right then and there. Interesting back story and for the second year in a row the Steelers get exactly the guy the wanted.
What's next? The positions of need that stand out for me are WR, RB and safety. Interesting news broke this morning former Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw has been medically cleared to resume all football activities after having surgery on his foot in the offseason. The Steelers have had Bradshaw in for a visit, but don't have the cap room at the moment to sign him to a deal. They will when Willie Colon's money becomes available in June, but Bradshaw figures to be signed by then. Nothing is going to happen today, but if the Steelers don't come away with a back by tonight, I would expect them to focus on getting a deal done with Bradshaw ASAP.
No backs were taken in Round 1 for the first time since 1963. Alabama running back Eddie Lacy stands out to me as the clear number one back in this draft, but is unlikely he will fall to the Steelers at 48. He likely goes to the Bengals at 37 or the Jets at 39. If he gets past there it could get interesting, but other teams may trade up to take him. If Lacy is on the board at 48 it is a no-brainer for the Steelers, but I don't see it happening.
Here's what I do see.
There are a ton of good wideouts still available. Tavon Austin and DeAndre Hopkins, my two favorites, are off the board along with Cordarrelle Patterson, but still leaves plenty of talented players that would be good value at 48. Keenan Allen of Cal is the highest ranked of the players still left and I think he'll go early in round 2 as will Justin Hunter of Tennessee. But I think Robert Woods of USC could still be on the board. If Lacy is gone, I grab Woods with my second-rounder.
If I get Woods, in the third round at pick 79 I'm hoping that UCLA RB Jonathan Franklin is still around. Other guys I would target with that pick include West Virginia WR Steadman Bailey if the Steelers don't get a WR in Round 2. Some other names to watch at those positions include RBs Joseph Randle and Christine Michael (3rd round) and my personal favorite Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore is coming of his second serious knee injury. If the Steelers haven't picked a RB by the 4th round and he is there at 115, I would jump at the opportunity. Unfortunately I think they would have to take him in round 3 to get him. A safety to watch for in the 3rd round would be Syracuse's Shamarko Thomas who the team had in for a pre-draft visit.
Projection: Round 2 Robert Woods WR, USC. Round 3 Jonathan Franklin RB, UCLA
As it turns out Jarvis Jones was just slow enough.
The 4.9 40-yard dash Jones ran at his pro day got Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert excited.
That unsightly number suggested some teams might back off and the Georgia outside linebacker might fall to the Steelers at No. 17 overall in the first round of the NFL
Draft after all.
The Steelers are one-third of the way to their OLB-S-RB NFL Draft Hat Trick.
On to Round Two:
With only three safeties having vacated the board on Round One choices at the position abound. Shamarko Thomas of Syracuse (SS/FS) or Phillip Thomas of Fresno State (FS) would be second-round fits. So would Jonathan Cyprien (SS, Florida International), Duke Williams (SS/FS Nevada) and D.j. Swearinger (FS, South Carolina).
2013 NFL Draft
Thursday, April 25 – Saturday, April 27, 2013
Kevin Colbert and Coach Tomlin RE 1st Round Pick Jarvis Jones
Outside Linebacker – Georgia Bulldogs
1st Round – 17th Overall
General Manager Kevin Colbert: Good evening everybody. Once again, we’re very pleased to have a player like Jarvis Jones available for us at the 17th pick. He definitely was one of the guys that I talked about the other day as being a special player in this draft. He’s a solid kid. He’s a great player. He’s productive at a major college level. In fact, he’s been dominant at the major college level. He plays the run, he chases the ball, and most important he gets after the passer, a highly productive pass rusher in one of the best conferences in the country. It’s really just a great honor to have this kid joining our team. We’re really excited about it.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin: I share those thoughts and feelings with Kevin in regards to the excitement. It really was a fun and easy evaluation. When you look at the outside linebackers in the 3-4 defenses, generally there is some projection and so forth involved in the evaluation. This was an easy evaluation from that standpoint. He plays in a very similar scheme, he’s asked to do things in a manner in which he’ll be asked to do it here in Pittsburgh, very little guesswork in that regard made it a fun evaluation and made it a comfortable evaluation. He excelled in what they asked him to do and he’ll be asked to do similar things here. So, all in all, we’re just very thankful and very excited to have Jarvis.
Was this one of those scenarios where you guys were surprised he fell to you?
KC: Not so much surprised. I didn’t know if he would make it because he was one of the guys that we thought was special. Again, with the 3-4 defense, it kind of cuts the market in half as to who is looking for this type of player. So, we knew there was a chance, we were hoping there was a chance, that’s certainly the truth. Jarvis didn’t work out at the combine. When he worked out at his pro day and he ran the 4.9 we were happy because we knew that we had a chance. We didn’t even talk to Jarvis at the combine because we didn’t think there was any chance that he’d get to us. When he ran the 4.9, the first thing I did was go over and see his agent and set up the visit because I knew that we had a chance. Then he continued with the workout and it was off the charts impressive. It just verified what we thought of him in college. This kid, when you watch him play, I don’t care what he runs. He’s a football player in every phase of the game and that was what was really exciting. When the time wasn’t quite what others were looking for, we were excited.
MT: When Kevin talked earlier about acknowledging six to eight special guys or guys with special characteristics, he was in that group. So, to get him at 17, obviously, we’re excited.
Did your medical staff check him out during his visits?
KC: Absolutely. There was no problem. The kid has played two seasons without an issue at the University of Georgia. Of course, he has to go through a physical and just to be sure we made another check when he came in. Certainly we’re very comfortable with his medical status or we wouldn’t have made that pick.
Re: How his playing style fits:
MT: He plays the game with a certain disposition that we value, a certain demeanor that we value. Whether he’s making a tackle or confronting a block, he does it in a manner that we appreciate. He’ll fit in great with our group.
Re: His composure:
MT: He’s been through a lot. He’s been to the West coast and back. He’s dealt with an injury that could’ve potentially put his career in question. He’s been through a lot. Kevin and I remarked at his pro day that he moved around then like a veteran player, he did. That doesn’t mean that he’s not a rookie, he’s going to be a rookie and he’ll go through the same thing rookies go through. We’re not going to take anything for granted in terms of his growth and development. He did have a mature demeanor around him and it’s probably because of his life experiences.
Re: His fit in this defense:
MT: There’s been a few times where he put his hand on the ground, but predominantly he’s a two-point stance player. He also plays a little bit of rover for them, where he’ll stack and play at the linebacker level and in some sub package stuff, like we’ve done with our outside linebackers in the past. That’s what I was referring to earlier when I said it was an easy and comfortable evaluation.
|Round 1 Draft Picks|
|1||Kansas City||Eric Fisher (OT) C Michigan|
|2||Jacksonville||Luke Joeckel (OT) Texas A&M|
|3||Miami||Dion Jordan (OLB) Oregon|
|4||Philadelphia||Lane Johnson (OT) Oklahoma|
|5||Detroit||Ezekiel Ansah (DE) BYU|
|6||Cleveland||Barkevious Mingo (DE) LSU|
|7||Arizona||Jonathan Cooper (OG) UNC|
|8||St. Louis||Tavon Austin (WR) W Virginia|
|9||NY Jets||Dee Milliner (CB) Alabama|
|10||Tennessee||Chance Warmack (OG) Alabama|
|11||San Diego||D.J. Fluker (OT) Alabama|
|12||Oakland||DJ Hayden (CB) Houston|
|13||NY Jets||Sheldon Richardson (DT) Missouri|
|14||Carolina||Star Lotulelei (DT) Utah|
|15||New Orleans||Kenny Vaccaro (S) Texas|
|16||Buffalo||EJ Manuel (QB) Florida St|
|17||Pittsburgh||Jarvis Jones (OLB) Georgia|
|18||San Francisco||Eric Reid (S) LSU|
|19||NY Giants||Justin Pugh (OT) Syracuse|
|20||Chicago||Kyle Long (OG) Oregon|
|21||Cincinnati||Tyler Eifert (TE) Notre Dame|
|22||Atlanta||Desmond Trufant (CB) Washington|
|23||Minnesota||Sharrif Floyd (DT) Florida|
|24||Indianapolis||Bjoern Werner (DE) Florida St|
|25||Minnesota||Xavier Rhodes (CB) Florida St|
|26||Green Bay||Datone Jones (DE) UCLA|
|27||Houston||DeAndre Hopkins (WR) Clemson|
|28||Denver||Sylvester Williams (DT) UNC|
|29||Minnesota||Cordarrelle Patterson (WR) Tennessee|
|30||St. Louis||Alec Ogletree (ILB) Georgia|
|31||Dallas||Travis Frederick (C) Wisconsin|
|32||Baltimore||Matt Elam (S) Florida|
Matt Williamson, NFL Scout for ESPN.com, joins the show & talks about who the Steelers could potentially draf
On Thursday’s PFT Live, West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin — almost assuredly to hear his name called in Round One of tonight’s draft — shared an interesting take on for whom he would like to play and how he would like to be deployed when enters the NFL.
Austin told PFT’s Mike Florio that he would like to play for a team with a “spread offense,” one that has “a plan for me who can use me.”
Austin also said he preferred a “team where there’s already wide receivers there so I’m not really the main target and teams can double down on me.”
For more of Austin’s thoughts as Round One nears, including his list of the three teams that “stood out” for interest shown in him in the predraft process, check out today’s interview on PFT Live.