If you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and are thinking that there isn’t a chance that another team will draft University of Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones before the Steelers, think again. There is a slight possibility that the nation’s leading sacker could be off the board before Pittsburgh is on the clock at pick number 17.
The New Orleans Saints, a team that has switched to a 3-4 defensive alignment, has the 15th pick and could use a pass rusher like Jones. The Steelers could also benefit from the services of Jones. However, as badly as they could use him, I don’t think that they are in a position to guarantee that Jones will be wearing black and gold this upcoming season.
Pittsburgh has a number of holes to fill on their roster, and trading up to pick before the Saints is a luxury that they can’t afford. The Miami Dolphins and the Carolina Panthers have the 12th and 14th picks in the first round respectively, and both teams are willing to trade down. A move like this could cost the Steelers a third or fourth round pick in the process.
In the event that this does happen, Pittsburgh will then only have seven selections in the draft. They already passed up an extra third-round pick from the New England Patriots by matching the offer for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Losing a mid-round pick will make matters more difficult for the Steelers’ organization.
Now, if Jones is off the board before Pittsburgh is on the clock and they decide not to trade up, then they could still get an impact player like University of Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson or University of Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. The Steelers could then focus on a pass rusher later in the draft, but more than likely will be depending on current Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds to be one of their primary pass rushers in 2013.
All in all, as great as Jones is as a pass rusher , Pittsburgh will be better off staying put in the 17th slot of the first round, crossing their fingers, and hope that the Saints, or anyone else, doesn’t go near the two-time All-American.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google