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Taking Jones definitely the right move

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

There were some different schools of thought out there on the Steelers' top need going into the recent NFL Draft.

Some felt that the team needed to go wide receiver with the first pick since Mike Wallace bolted. Others said it was running back because of the hole that Rashard Mendenhall left. And others felt that since James Harrison left the organization, the team needed to get an outside linebacker.

Well, the Steelers did go outside linebacker by taking Georgia's Jarvis Jones.

It was the guy all along who I was hoping they would take.

And it had nothing to do with Harrison leaving. Even if Harrison was still with the team, he is on the downside of his career and the other outside linebacker, LaMarr Woodley, has been both inconsistent and not very productive the last two seasons.

If Jones, who was considered the top edge rusher in the draft, does what he did at Georgia in the rugged SEC the last two seasons, he will be just fine.

And so will the Steelers' defense.

A player like Jones makes other players look better.

Even though the Steelers' defense had been ranked at the top of the league the past two seasons, it did not have the sacks and pressures or the turnovers that it registered in the past.

If a player like Jones can get double-digit sacks and numerous pressures, it forces the quarterback to rush his passes. It causes turnovers. It causes defensive backs to have to spend less time covering receivers who may not be able to make their break in the secondary.

Jones will make those Steelers defensive backs look a lot better in coverage as long as he is harassing the quarterback.

As for the rest of the Steelers' draft, the more I read about No. 2 pick Le'Veon Bell, the more I love the pick.

His rushing numbers are off the chart. He can also catch and block. And he is only 20 years old.

I knew that Markus Wheaton of Oregon State was a good receiver. He wasn't the best going in, but that position was a deep one in this draft.

He has good speed and excellent hands and will help the receiving corps.

Quarterback Landry Jones is a head scratcher because Ben Roethlisberger is nowhere near the end of the line.

However, the team definitely was in need of an upgrade behind Roethlisberger and if the former Oklahoma star develops he will give the team some options down the road.

Powerful Pens

I found it kind of laughable that some folks were worried about the Pens' possible first round playoff matchup over the weekend.

So what if it were the Rangers or the Senators?

As loaded and talented as the Pens are, there is not team that should beat them in the first round and, realistically, there is no team that should be considered a bad matchup for them in any round.

This team is built to win it all right now. General Manager Ray Shero did an excellent job of going out and bolstering what was already one of the top teams in the league.

If everyone stays healthy - and the Pens did pretty darn good while several of their stars were not - then anything less than a Stanley Cup Trophy would be a disappointment.

Regardless, I certainly don't see another series like last year's Flyers debacle on the horizon for this team.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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