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May 13, 2013 by Palmer Sucks

The 2013 Draft is history, and the Stillers pretty much did what most everyone thought they’d do: take Georgia LB Jarvis Jones with their top pick.


I know that some people have issues with Jones, but I was fine with the pick for a number of reasons. For starters, the Stillers clearly got their guy, as they practically sprinted to the podium once their turn came up. (Funny how they don’t seem to have the same sense of urgency towards, say, QBs, but that’s another story.) Such decisive action always leaves me feeling better about a draft choice, regardless of what I think about the player per se.


I noticed that Mill had an issue with Jones’s 40 time, but that doesn’t bother me. Some guys just don’t do well in shorts. I feel Jones is a bit overhyped, but you can’t argue with his on-field production, which is what he’s shown in spades. In fact no collegiate pass-rusher produced more than Jones, who led the nation in sacks last season.


Besides, if 40-yard-dash times were all that mattered, then Renaldo Nehemiah would have been the greatest receiver of all time. League history is full of “turtles” like Jerry Rice and Lynn Swann, guys whose 40-yard times gave some teams pause. A fast time of course can be a predictor of success, but a slow forty certainly doesn’t guarantee failure.


Jones ran a 4.9, which is close to what Terrell Suggs did coming out of college. Like Suggs, Jones was the player QBs hated to see lined up on the other side (in fact Suggs is the NFL player who most reminds me of Jones, minus the mouth).


Another concern is Jones’s height, listed at “only” 6’ 2”. Again, I refer you to his production – and remember, Jones put up these numbers in the SEC, college football’s premier conference.


If there’s one issue I have with Jones, it’s not his physique but rather his style – Jones tends to play high, relying on his quickness to make plays. He’ll have to learn to play lower against NFL linemen, to gain leverage, and would be wise to watch film of the guy he’ll likely be replacing in Pittsburgh.


So again, I’m fine with round one. Round two is a different story. The Stillers grabbed Michigan State RB Le’veon Bell, a player I thought they could’ve gotten later. Bell’s highlight reel impressed, but he’s built from the same mold as Dwyer, a guy who’s fast for his size but lacks true breakaway speed. (A choice this high, in my opinion, should have the home-run threat as part of the package.) Word is Bell had been moving up boards in the days before the draft, and I wonder if the Stillers panic-picked here.


Here the Stillers missed a prime chance to do what I’d asked for in my pre-draft: bolster their lame LB corps. The team had taken Mr. Outside, Jones – now they had a shot to take one of two top inside LB candidates remaining. Both Arthur Brown and my own pre-draft choice, Kevin Minter, were still on the board going into the second round. The Stillers could’ve traded up to nab either one, but instead watched the Ravens do it and snag Jones. This was a mistake in my book.


I didn’t have any problem seeing them pass over Eddie Lacy of Alabama, the RB many seemed to think the Stillers wanted. It’s not about the toe either; the fact is, Lacy played behind an o-line that featured basically TWO top-ten NFL draft choices. In fact I couldn’t find one highlight where Lacy got hit in the backfield and made it out on his own – it seemed he was constantly running through holes the size of small trucks. Lacy’s got some amazing open-field moves, but that’s little good if he can’t fight his way out of traffic.


Landing Jones and either Minter or Arthur Jones would’ve been a master stroke: instantly upgrading a huge need while still taking a best athlete available. (Minter lasting into the second round seemed outrageous to me.) Instead the Stillers opted for someone who could resemble Bettis in his early years – or could be Mendenhall 2.0.


I liked the Markus Wheaton pick in round three. The Stillers then DID move up to take mighty-mite Shemarko Thomas, who in the best-case scenario would become the next Bob Sanders -- or might become another Tyrone Carter. 


In round 4 I thought the Stillers should’ve taken big Tyler Bray over the QB they actually did, Landry Jones. “Mr. Sunshine” put up nice numbers at Oklahoma, but mainly when he had a nice, clean pocket with time to throw. My concern with Landry is his weakness in functioning when things break down around him – in a sense he’s the “anti-Ben.”


Round 5 saw the team land Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne, and fine, no big deal spending this late a choice on a corner with such nice speed. But then came the infamous round 6, where the Stillers TOTALLY blew a shot to make the late-round steal of the draft.


As you know, I recommended the Stillers look at Jones’s Georgia teammate, DE Cornelius Washington, as another possibility. Round after round I saw Washington slip, with no explanation given, until finally he was (somehow) still there when the Stillers picked in the sixth. Here sat Jones, a guy I wouldn’t have minded if the Stillers had picked in the third round – now on sale in the bargain bin.


For the stopwatch crowd, let me give you Washington’s vitals: 6’ 4”, 265 and ran an eye-catching 4.53 forty. That makes him bigger and faster than Jones, and, probably stronger, as Washington put up a hefty 36 reps on the bench at the Indy combine. Jones is the classic DE-to-OLB converter for a pro 3-4 set, and was available for a lousy sixth-round pick. Instead the Stillers opted to throw another body into their already-crowded WR corps – I can only hope Justin Brown makes the squad, as seeing him cut would ROYALLY piss me off now. (Watch, though, as undrafted Reggie Dunn impresses more in camp.)


What DID piss me off was later being informed that Kiper had pointed out the fact that Washington had “abused” Giants’ first-rounder Justin Pugh when they’d gone head-to-head. Again, you can overlook workout numbers, but you can’t argue with the on-field.


It turns out Kiper wasn’t exaggerating:


Again, ideal size and speed for an NFL rusher, demonstrated ability AND probably now a King-Kong-sized shoulder chip from being passed over – who needs a guy like that, huh? A few picks later Chicago grabbed Jones (I understand they plan to use him as a DE, which would be a waste) and it was game over.


What an absolutely ASSAHOLIC move to pass on a prospect like Washington. Here you could’ve taken out essentially a cheap insurance policy on Jones. Should Jones’s size or speed shortfalls (not to mention the spinal-cord issue) keep him from living up to promise, you’ve got a superior physical specimen (not to mention former teammate) right behind him, just in case.




Jarvis Jones LB

Cornelius Washington DE

Height: 6’ 2”

Height: 6’ 4”

Weight: 245

Weight: 265

Speed: 4.9

Speed: 4.53

Bench Press: 20 reps

Bench Press: 36 reps



Washington is pure and simple a quarterback hunter – we don’t know much about his coverage ability -- which is fine in today’s specialist-happy NFL. Maybe the Stillers could’ve drafted their other top choice, TE Tyler Eifert, instead of Jones, and bagged Washington later on. We’ll never know, as the team obviously wanted Jones all along – but why not take both and REALLY beef up the position? Washington also might’ve been able to push Woodley if he continues to live down to expectations.


Oh and I did like Nick Williams, the big DT from Samford. Posting the same 40 time as Jones, at 310 lbs., is a feat worth noting.


So to recap, one small and one monster chance blown in the 2013 Draft. With a little effort, the Stillers could’ve gone into camp with Jones, Minter and Washington, instantly injecting life into their lame linebacker corps. Instead we get another year’s worth of the great Larry Foote. Anybody got the number for Sean Spence’s orthopedic specialist?


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