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Pittsburgh Steelers Went by the Book in the 2013 NFL Draft

Just call him Broadway Jarvis.

Already immortalized with food artwork in his likeness at a Subway in Manhattan, Jarvis Jones made the Namath-like prediction that he wouldn’t get past the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, according to NFL.com.

The Steelers had the No. 17 pick, and that’s exactly when Roger Goodell announced Jones’ name Thursday night under the bright lights at Radio City Music Hall, not far from Broadway.

Jones’ prediction came true because this was a predictable draft for the Steelers. There were no surprises because they did what they had to do.

There was no euphoria over a supposed steal like David DeCastro, Rashard Mendenhall or Limas Sweed.

There was no “who is Bruce Davis” moment.

There was no sappy tale of redemption like the drafting of Mike Adams.

The Steelers’ draft was free of plot twists and made-for-TV drama.

Coming off an 8-8 season and not winning a playoff game since 2010, the Steelers had a lot of needs in this draft. They couldn’t afford to get cute.

They wasted no time filling their Big Three needs, drafting an outside linebacker, running back and wide receiver in each of the first three rounds.

After taking Jones Thursday, the Steelers picked Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell in the second round and Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton in the third round on Friday.

Jones led the nation in sacks (school-record 14.5), tackles for loss (school-record 24.5) and forced fumbles (seven) for Georgia in 2012. Bell led the Big Ten with 1,793 rushing yards in 2012. Wheaton is Oregon State’s all-time leading receiver with 227 receptions.

After focusing on their primary needs, the Steelers moved on to their secondary needs by picking players for their secondary in the fourth and fifth rounds on Saturday.

The Steelers acquired the Cleveland Browns’ fourth-round pick this year for next year’s third-rounder and chose Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas. In the fifth round, they took Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne.

Except for special teams, Thomas and Hawthorne won’t be expected to make an immediate impact. But they’ll need to watch and learn because Troy Polamalu just turned 32. Ike Taylor turns 33 on Cinco de Mayo and Ryan Clark turns 34 in October.

The Steelers had the football shelf life of a 31-year-old in mind when they used their original fourth-round pick on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. They needed a backup quarterback who’s not old enough to remember Chuck Noll.

Ben Roethlisberger also was in the Steelers’ thoughts when they picked Jones’ teammate, Oklahoma wide receiver Justin Brown, with their first sixth-round pick. Roethlisberger has always wanted a tall receiver, and Brown is 6’3”. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders both are shorter than six feet.

If there was one position the Steelers needed to double up on in this draft, it was wide receiver. When Jerricho Cotchery is your No. 3 receiver, you need to stock up at that position.

With their compensatory sixth-round pick, the Steelers addressed another area that seems OK now, but is starting to get gray around the temples. They took Florida State inside linebacker Vince Williams, who could someday replace soon-to-be-33-year-old Larry Foote if all goes according to plan.

There even was a purpose to the Steelers’ seventh-round pick. Normally position doesn’t matter as much by the seventh round. But the choice of Samford defensive tackle Nick Williams implies that patience with Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward is wearing thin.

The Steelers’ by-the-book approach to this draft should engender a sense of satisfaction for a job well done rather than premature celebration.

It’s too early to start carving Jones’ bust for Canton. His Subway sandwich sculpture will have to do for now.

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1 comment

  1. John

    I felt the draft went very well. Many draft analysis guys were down in our pick in the 6 th round getting Justin Brown, saying he’s too slow etc. the receivers coach seemed to be very impressed with his toughness and if u watch film on him , he gets leveled more than once and bounces right back up. Still glad we kept Manny, looking forward to all the position battles this camp will bring. Nothing like a little competition to put a flame under some guys pants, it will bring the best out of this crew.

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