With the 17th pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones. Sgdbw90 is serving as the Steelers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
"A narrowing of the open spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves that travel through the spine."
It doesn't sound that intimidating as far as physical issues are concerned. In this post-Kevin Ware world, any problem where the bones stay within the body seems like something you should just be able to walk off. But this seemingly benign issue is the description for cervical spinal stenosis -- an admittedly scarier name -- and it's been costing Jarvis Jones millions of dollars in guaranteed money as his name cascades down draft boards.
Well worry no more, Mr. Jones! The Pittsburgh Steelers have a James Harrison-sized hole in their front seven, and a pass rushing beast like yourself would be the perfect remedy.
Even though Jones had been graded as a top-five pick as recently as last month (as Lions fans well remember), picking the talented OLB/edge rusher may prove controversial to some Steelers fans. Grooming a replacement for Troy Polamalu may be a bigger priority, but Vaccaro and Elam are gone, and Cyprien would be a stretch here. Similarly, tight end is a position of need, with team MVP Heath Miller having torn his ACL and MCL in late December, but Eifert is a reach. Finally, current Steeler Jason Worilds is a pretty talented (and awesomely named) option to fill the hole opposite former Wolverine LaMarr Woodley, but Worilds is far from a proven, every-down type of player.
Jones is the enthralling combination of best player available who also happens to fill a position of a need. The spinal stenosis, despite being the first thing any draft guru says about him, has not required a single re-check by any of the teams interviewing him, suggesting that GMs around the league aren't concerned. Jones' measurables may not stand out, but his level of play was astonishing. Over the past two years, against the toughest competition in the nation in the SEC, Jones put up 155 tackles, 28 sacks, 44 tackles for a loss and 9 forced fumbles (7 last year alone). With Worilds on board, the Steelers can afford to gamble on a medium risk, high reward type player like Jones. Besides, no team ever missed the playoffs because they had too many dynamic pass rushers. Jones is a virtual clone of Von Miller, and has the makings to be the next in a long line of spectacular Steelers linebackers.
I strongly considered Bjoern Werner here, though he projects to be more of a 4-3 DE. The hardest call, perhaps, was taking Jones over Barkevious Mingo. The case against Mingo is his perceived lack of work ethic (a giant red flag to the Dick LeBeau-led Steelers D). The case for him is HOLY COW what an amazing name. It blows Jason Worilds out of the water. Best of all, it was almost certainly the inspiration for my favorite comedy sketch of the year:
Spoiler alert: In Round 2, I'm absolutely targeting Hingle McCringleberry.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.