After selecting Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the clock four picks later and addressed their need for a young quarterback for the future.
With overall pick No. 115, the Steelers selected Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, who is a good value pick at this point in the draft.
Jones is a guy who likely would have been a first-round pick a year ago, but slid to the Steelers in the fourth round this season after performing pretty poorly in the Senior Bowl.
But Jones has been a winner all through college and has good height, size and athleticism for the position.
He is very good executing play action as his play-fakes are sharp. Throwing the ball, Jones delivers the ball quickly and has the arm strength to out-throw a deep safety’s range. In addition his throws downfield over the middle have good velocity.
Jones lost three receivers to suspension last year, didn’t have a tight end and still had a very productive season, finishing his collegiate career the owner of almost every single Oklahoma career passing record.
He’s a guy who has operated pretty much solely out of the shotgun his entire collegiate career, so getting under center primarily could be a bit of a transition.
Despite that, many analysts feel he was the best quarterback in the draft.
Physically, Jones is what NFL teams are looking for in a pocket passer. He’s big with a very good arm. He’s sturdy and can absorb some of the punishment that a pocket passer is bound to take.
Jones has the accuracy needed to fire into NFL passing windows. He’s proven in the short passing game, something that the Oklahoma scheme emphasized. When Jones threw downfield, he was also very accurate, especially on the fade route and seam routes.
He also seems to be a leader, a hard worker, and a guy who takes the game seriously. Most importantly, he’s a winner. In his four-year college career Jones played 50 games for one of the best programs in college football and won 39 of those, including a 3-1 record in bowl games.
One note about the Steelers selection of Jones is that it spells the end of the Steeler careers of both Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich.
He likely won’t see any playing time unless both Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski are injured, but Jones is a guy I like as potentially the quarterback of the future for the Steelers.