If all of the pieces fall into place like most predict for the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be selecting University of Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones with the 17th overall pick. Jones is a two-time Consensus All-American, and a two-time All-SEC First-Team selection.
The Steelers’ number of sacks has declined over the past two seasons. From 2008-10, Pittsburgh’s defense had season totals of 51, 47, and 48 sacks respectively. In 2011, their sack count fell to 35, and the 2012 season showed minimal improvement with 37 sacks.
Jones just could be what the Steelers need. To be more specific, he could be what linebacker LaMarr Woodley needs. Last season, Woodley had a career-low four sacks. This was mainly because James Harrison, who was released in March, wasn’t playing at full strength due to lingering injuries, and all attention was put on Woodley. Assuming that Jones is drafted by Pittsburgh and starts over Jason Worilds as their right outside linebacker, Woodley could be in position to rebound from his lackluster 2012 season.
Adding Jones to the Steelers’ defense would not only increase their sack numbers, but will also help improve a defense that was already ranked number one in overall defense in the NFL last year. Jones led Georgia in sacks in 2011 with 13.5, and followed up that dominating campaign by leading the nation in sacks (14.5), tackles for loss (24.5), and forced fumbles (seven). All of those attributes will help the Steelers force more far more turnovers than they did last season.
While playing for the Bulldogs, Jones played in a 3-4 alignment (the same as the Steelers), so making an adjustment to the defensive scheme shouldn’t be an issue. Furthermore, the potential addition of Jones will give Pittsburgh a pass rusher who can continue the great legacy of sack masters for years to come.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google