If Jarvis Jones expected to be a starter based on being a first round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers and his college career credentials, he’s got another thing coming for him, and a much tougher battle for a starting spot than some would expect.
The 17th overall pick, Jones was labeled as the next outside, pass-rushing linebacker for a team quite thin at the position, possibly the replacement of James Harrison, released before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals. Apparently, being a two-time consensus All-American doesn’t make you an immediate starter; not for the Steelers.
I think it’s a daunting task for rookies to start in any system and play and perform well. Obviously it is difficult when you have established veteran players like we have with a lot of continuity. We are not going to close the door on Jones or anyone else on earning an opportunity, and that is what this is about – people taking advantage of opportunities. So he’ll be given that.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers did add another player in the draft to help their linebackers core; Vince Williams, coming out of Florida State, in the sixth round. But Williams isn’t going to be the one that keeps Jones out of the starting lineup. There’s a good chance it’ll be Jason Worilds, entering his fourth NFL season, following his first 16-game campaign, recording 5 sacks and 27 tackles.
Early projections for Jones in the draft took him for a top 5 pick, but a disappointing pro day and medical concerns regarding his spinal cord that have been around since he began playing college football “helped” him slide down the ladder, eventually landing with the Steelers, which usually is a good place to begin your career at.