Why Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jarvis Jones Will Prove Experts Wrong
In case you haven't heard, Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones ran the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds during Georgia's pro day. As such, some experts felt this made him unworthy of a first-round selection.
One of those experts, NFL.com's senior analyst Gil Brandt, said about Jones during an interview with NFL.com colleague Dan Hanzus, "I think he's one of those guys that when you're rushing the passer, he's going to almost get there, but not quite."
Apparently in Brandt's mind, NFL offenses will be employing a 40-yard shotgun formation. How else could he have drawn such a conclusion?
It certainly wasn't from watching Jones play. In two seasons at Georgia, he tallied 28 sacks and 168 tackles. He was also named the 2012 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. The emphasis here is on SEC, the closest thing to the NFL at the college level.
But Jones' production against that level of competition was irrelevant to Brandt and, evidently, a few general managers on draft day. Instead, they chose to rely more on a 40 time performed during a glorified gym class as a better gauge of Jones' future NFL success.
It's like not picking a world-renowned brain surgeon from Harvard because he got a "C" in Gross Human Anatomy during his first year of medical school.
However, Brandt isn't alone in giving merit to a player's 40 time. Take this quote from former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo in an interview with the Chicago Tribune before the 2003 NFL draft:
"Everybody walked away very disappointed, especially us way up at the top, It probably knocked him down. It's going to hurt him. Everybody expected a 4.65 guy. At worst I thought he'd run 4.75."
Who was the player Angelo referred to?
Yes, Angelo put more weight on Suggs' 40 time than on his NCAA single-season record 24 sacks.
Was Jarvis Jones the right first-round pick for the Steelers?
Because of that, the Bears traded down and drafted Michael Haynes instead. No, not the Hall of Fame cornerback but rather the unremarkable defensive end who played four seasons in the NFL before getting on with his life's work.
Meanwhile, in 10 seasons in the NFL, Suggs has been voted to five Pro Bowls and received Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of Year awards. Just think, if his 40 time had only been a little faster, he might have actually made something out of his career
You see, just like Suggs' production didn't matter to Angelo back then, Jones' production didn't matter to a few general managers last week.
Indeed, they disregarded the game film and instead obsessed on how slow Jones ran in a straight line while wearing shorts.
Fortunately for Pittsburghers, Jones' college production mattered to Kevin Colbert and company. In 10 years, Steelers fans will be thanking the teams who agreed with Brandt just like Baltimore Ravens fans have been thanking the teams who agreed with Angelo.
Aside from mutual contempt, it's probably the only thing the two fanbases will ever share in common.
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