We are now up to pick No. 17 in the 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft. Once again, this is a reminder that I will be attempting to post three picks every day until we get through round two. This will likely take us into the week of the 2013 NFL Draft, so feel free to consider this a sort of countdown.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the clock and their Niners Nation GM is TryAndCatchVD. With the seventeenth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Steelers select Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia.
Explanation: The Pittsburgh Steelers powerhouse of the 2000's has recently started to decline. Despite a glut of talent that spanned the decade, many of their core players, as well as certain high profile youngsters, have retired or moved on from the team. As they enter the 2013 season, the Steelers have several holes widening on their once-stacked roster, both offensively and defensively.
The Steelers currently have one quarterback on the roster, an aging Ben Roethlisberger. With him at the helm, their offense will always be dangerous with the ability to move the ball. This offense, however, has a glaring need at the running back position, one that I expect the Front Office to fill within the first three rounds. The loss of Mike Wallace was a major detriment to their offense, leaving Old Man Burress across from the rising young Antonio Brown; replacing Wallace will not be a simple task, but I believe that solid receiving talent can be found deep into the second day. I would say without hesitation that the Steelers have one of the top groups of three young offensive linemen in the entire league. Anchored by a world-class center in Maurkice Pouncey, their line features two other young players drafted near the top of their respective drafts. However, an offensive line consists of five big men, not three -- and if the right player were to fall to them at either LT or LG, I could see the Steelers pulling the trigger, especially for an athletic lineman like Jonathan Cooper or Lane Johnson.
Defensively, the Steelers are but a shell of their former glory -- their once fearsome Linebacking corps has crashed down unceremoniously back to average -- led by returning youngsters (relatively) LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. The loss of James Harrison, one of the great enforcers in Linebacker history, is to be succeeded by the promising Jason Worilds. While many Steelers fans are jockeying for another pass rushing OLB, they also see a need for ILB talent, presumably to spell and groom behind the Ancient One, Larry Foote. Their Safety corps is undermanned and aging, and there can never be enough CBs on a team, especially in this pass happy league, although it is unlikely that they fortify early. With Casey Hampton no longer on the depth chart, finding an anchor for their 3-4 is imperative, although this deep draft may have some gems to be uncovered on the second day. Despite an underperforming Ziggy Hood, the Steelers seem willing to stand pat at the DE position, with some solid talent in the wings.
I have identified the Steelers' positions of need to be either an athletic Offensive Lineman to bolster their interior, or a blue-chip prospect to groom in the Linebacking corps. Since Lane Johnson and Jonathan Cooper are already gone ...
With the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select...
Linebacker JARVIS JONES from Georgia.
An athletic specimen with prototypical measurables and a storied & productive college career, the Steelers find value in the first round with a versatile linebacker. Being able to play either inside or outside, he will be able to involve himself in learning the system with help from Larry Foote, play spot duty for Foote or Lawrence Timmons, and provide third down rusher capability from the outside.
Trevor Woods: The slide of Jarvis Jones in the first round ends. While I do like the selection, I believe the Steelers have their starting outside linebacker of the future already in Jason Worilds. Worilds is expected to replace James Harrison, who is now a free agent. I envision Jarvis to be an outside backer in the pros, so I do not feel he will be a replacement for Foote in the near future. He could replace Woodley however if the Steelers decide to cut him after the 2013 season. Jones is the best player available here at pick 17, and Dick Lebeau would find ways to utilize Jones and to get him on the field during his rookie campaign. Other possibilities would include Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker, and West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin.
NIck Chiamardas: Great pick. Jones was thought to be a top 5-10 pick early on in the process. His stock dropped after deciding not to participate in February's combine. Some point to Jones' spinal stenosis as a reason the star pass rusher has dropped. The condition clearly wasn't an issue at Georgia where Jones tallied 28 sacks and 44 tackles for loss in just two years. There's no questioning his playmaking skills and the Steelers find the perfect fit into a once daunted 3-4 front.
Niners Nation Mock Draft, Round 1
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Oakland Raiders -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan [Explanation]
- Cleveland Browns -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama [Explanation]
- Arizona Cardinals -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas [Explanation]
- Buffalo Bills -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU [Explanation]
- New York Jets -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama [Explanation]
- Tennessee Titans -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida [Explanation]
- San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma [Explanation]
- Miami Dolphins -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina [Explanation]
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State [Explanation]
- Carolina Panthers -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- New Orleans Saints -- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri [Explanation]
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia