This past April, the Pittsburgh Steelers spent their first-round pick on outside linebacker Jarvis Jones in hopes that he could replace James Harrison and his production as a pass rusher. While the development has been slow, Jones showed well in his first outing for the Steelers.
In a 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Jones filled in as the backup right outside linebacker while fourth-year pro Jason Worilds got the start. Still, the rookie saw plenty of snaps – 30 to be exact – as the Steelers hoped to get a better idea of just where Jones stood in terms of progress.
Although his production was minimal, Jones still made an impact in his limited playing time. The lone tackle that he notched came by way of a ferocious hit on Titans running back Chris Johnson. After slipping through the left side of the offensive line, Jones blew up Johnson in the backfield with a bone-crushing tackle.
Jones failed to make much noise as a pass rusher, but did a good job while playing the run on 17 snaps. He also dropped back into coverage on four snaps, but never saw the ball come his way.
It’s still early for Jones, who has all of the potential needed to be a starter for the Steelers. If he can build on his first taste of NFL action and prove that he can be an effective pass rusher, the Georgia product could overtake Worilds for the top spot on the depth chart sooner rather than later.
There’s plenty for the Steelers to be excited about with Jones. We’ll see in Week 2 if he can earn a bigger role as part of the Pittsburgh pass rush.
Final Week 1 Grade: B-