The Pittsburgh Steelers first round pick in 2013 struggled through his rookie season, but that doesn't mean that the outside linebacker should be considered a bust after one season.
There is a lot of pressure placed on a first round pick. Some flourish under that pressure while others crumble. The jury is still out on Pittsburgh Steelers' 2013 first round draft pick Jarvis Jones and his ability to handle such pressure, but at such an early stage in his career, fans should be a bit more patient with the second year pro.
Jones ventured into rarefied air last season when he started nearly the entire season as a rookie in the complex Dick LeBeau 3-4 scheme, something that is rarely every done. On top of being thrust into the starting position, Jones had the expectations of his predecessor, James Harrison, hanging over him like a storm cloud.
Those comparisons are entirely unfair, but if you insist and want to compare Jones entering his second season to some of the great Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers of the 2000s, well lets see how he adds up in the category fans worry most about - sacks.
Joey Porter's rookie season he collected 2 sacks. Count them carefully, 2 sacks. It was Porter's second season that saw his production sky rocket to 10.5. Jason Gildon recorded 2 sacks as well as a first year pro, and followed it with a 3 sack second year, yet Gildon's career only got better with more experience. James Harrison was cut several times, but when he finally started seeing the field, he recorded 1 sack. The following year was 3 sacks. Lastly, LaMarr Woodley recorded 4 sacks as a rookie and 11.5 in his second season.
I realize there are a lot of factors that tie into these equations. For instance, James Harrison's time on the field was limited due to the players ahead of him on the depth chart, but look closely and you can see that Jarvis Jones shouldn't be given up on, not yet at least.
Jones is having to learn a new way to play football. Forget a more complex scheme, he is essentially having to teach himself the game of football all over again. That can take time. I have a feeling that although fans are never patient enough for development in a "what have you done for me lately league", the Steelers organization will be patient.
Their patience will pay off if Jones follows the same trend as his predecessors and elevates his game this year and for years to come.
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