Throughout the draft process, Jarvis Jones has consistently been considered a top 15 pick, or thereabouts. Way back in the before time in December when the draft order wasn’t even finalized, Todd McShay ranked Jones as his 13th best prospect. Sometimes he even crept up higher and into the top 10, which will happen when you’re a fast dude who had 14.5 sacks last year, and 24.5 tackles for a loss, which led the nation.
Ultimately, concerns about his health (spinal stenosis) combined with a less than impressive 40-yard dash time at his Pro Day (4.92) have led to his slight tumble. But what he may lack in raw speed is compensated for with elite athleticism and burst, and that’s why the best outside linebacker in this draft who isn’t named Dion Jordan has been consistently mocked to the Steelers, a team very much in need at the position after the departure of James Harrison.
Which is good, because Jarvis Jones thinks that Jarvis Jones is going to Pittsburgh too.
Jones spoke with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport earlier today, and he agrees with many of the mocks projecting his future.
“If I even get to 17, I don’t think I get past the Steelers. I mean, from what I’ve been told, I don’t think I get past the Steelers.”
Whereas there was once murmurs about Jones tumbling out of the first round entirely, he’s now seemingly won the hearts and minds of his greatest critics. Earlier this month Gil Brandt — the godfather of mock drafting who did his first mock on several stones — said he was unsure if Jones is really a first-round talent. But now in his latest mock today, Brandt agrees with Jones, slotting him to the Steelers at No. 17.
I’ll stop short of calling this a consensus pick, because that’s a dirty, scummy word in this draft. But it’s damn close, with Jones exactly the tonic Pittsburgh needs to address the void left by Harrison, who was aging, yet still effective. Despite missing eight games over the past two seasons, Harrison still recorded 15 sacks during that stretch.
Since I know you care a lot, Jarvis, I agree with you. While also highlighting the flaws in Jones’ game (namely, a lack diversity in his pass rushing moves), Doug Farrar wrote these glowing words in his Jones profile:
Jones has outstanding speed around the edge and can turn inside to the pocket in a hurry. Even when he’s blocked out, can move back inside the octagon for the sack. Bursts off the snap to establish advantage against outside blockers. Gains speed quickly from wide formations. Gets under blocks when turning the edge — already has a consistent “dip-and-rip” maneuver. Reads the action well at the line when asked to do so. Outstanding chase player who will take the play to the sideline. Good wrap tackler. Redirects well in space and will stop plays away from his starting point. Quick enough to drop into coverage and mirror tight ends and even outside receivers well. Tackles for loss by sliding off blocks — does this better than he takes on blocks directly. Has an embryonic bull-rush but needs to develop better strength and leverage to effectively use it.
An efficient edge rusher who can also be trusted in coverage, you say? Yes, that does sound like fine value at 17th overall.
Now that this is settled, I’m much more concerned about when chicken sandwich Jarvis Jones will be drafted…