The Steelers took a chance with Jones in the fourth round, despite quarterbacks like Tyler Bray and Zac Dysert still on the board. While the team didn’t need a guy to start on Week 1, it clearly needed someone for the future and to come in as a backup in the event that Ben Roethlisberger gets hurt.
The quarterback situation for the Steelers was a mess in 2012. With Roethlisberger hurt, the team had to go with guys like Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch to lead the team. It certainly wasn’t pretty, as the team went on to finish with a record of 8-8.
Now Jones can come in and be the backup. At 6’4’’ and 225 pounds, he has great size to be an NFL quarterback. He was an incredibly productive quarterback at Oklahoma, finishing with 16,646 passing yards, 123 touchdowns and multiple school records. He has a quick release on his throws and can make some impressive passes as long as his feet are set.
There are also still some problems that Jones needs to work on in the NFL. He was notorious for struggling when the pocket began to collapse, and his lack of mobility made it difficult for him to escape pressure. While he has a solid arm, his accuracy deep down the field was too inconsistent.
By going to the Steelers, Jones will be in an excellent place to work on those things and develop into a potential starting quarterback one day.
With Roethlisberger as his mentor, Jones will be able to improve dramatically. It seems that the weaknesses of Jones are some of the biggest strengths for Big Ben. While Jones struggles with a collapsing pocket, Roethlisberger excels in that situation. He can escape the pocket and make big throws to get his team out of difficult situations.
Jones will also be surrounded by a great coaching staff that includes Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley. In fact, Haley worked closely with a quarterback who some believe is the pro comparison to Jones: Matt Cassel" href="http://bleacherreport.com/matt-cassel" target="_blank">Matt Cassel.
Comparing Jones to Cassel sounds like an insult, but this comparison is based off of how their styles of play compare. Cassel is another 6’4’’ guy who thrives with time in the pocket and struggles under pressure. 2010 was the perfect example of how Cassel could succeed with time. He finished with 3,116 yards, 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
The coaching staff will try to ensure that Jones doesn’t end up struggling like Cassel has recently. Luckily, Jones won’t be asked to be a starter for the Steelers for the foreseeable future, at least until Big Ben decides to call it quits.
Until then, Jones is in a great place to learn and become an overall better quarterback. With an elusive and tough mentor like Roethlisberger, Jones can become a starter one day.