Steelers Draft Evaluation: Quarterback Landry Jones

USA TODAY Sports

Landry Jones is a long way from the projected first round player he once was, but what does the Steelers' newest QB project to as in the NFL?

Landry Jones left Oklahoma as a four year starter who held team records in passing yards (16,646) and touchdowns (123) as well as the Big 12's all-time passing leader.

SB Nation's Sooner affiliate put together a full breakdown of Landry Jones' college performance, but let's look at how he projects as a pro.

One of the biggest criticisms of Jones is that even after being a four-year starter at a major college program, he never became a QB, and stayed an inconsistent "thrower." There are legitimate questions to ask about whether more time on the Steelers' bench will allow him to reach his potential as a QB and leader on the field.

One thing that cannot be doubted about Jones is his arm strength. When he is on, he is an accurate passer who can make any professional throw, but much like many of the other QB's in this draft, he has never been able to harness his natural skills and become a legitimate NFL player.

Currently, Jones is a pocket passer who struggles when put under center. He has good footwork to evade the pass rush (a necessity in a Steeler QB), and he was a durable player at Oklahoma with good size - 6'4", 225 pounds - with the ability to add more strength to his large frame.

Steelers Draft: Jarvis Jones Le'Veon Bell Markus Wheaton Shamarko Thomas Landry Jones Terry Hawthorne Justin Brown Vince Williams Nic Williams UDFAs

Jones' weaknesses, however, are as big as his arm strength. He never developed into a consistent player mostly because of his inability to progress through his reads and find the open receiver. He often forced throws, knowing that he had the chance to beat coverage with arm strength and accuracy, even if his target wasn't open. In the college ranks, this can work, in the NFL you'll lose more times than you win with that strategy.

In spite of having good mobility in the pocket, Jones is a fairly immobile QB. He keeps his feet active and can step up on the rush, but he was unable to evade college pass rushers and will have problems beating pass rushers with NFL speed.

Overall, Jones will have time to sit on the bench and learn behind two veterans, Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski. There will be no expectations for Jones to start or even be a primary backup right away, and he will have time to learn the speed of the NFL and work on his progressions.

Landry Jones might not be the future of the Steelers, and he might not develop into an asset the Steelers can trade in the future (something that has been en vogue lately when teams invest in mid-round talent at QB), but given time to reach his potential, he can replace Bruce Gradkowski as Ben Roethlisberger's primary backup in 2-3 years and bring a young player to the quarterback position in Pittsburgh, something that has been missing since Dennis Dixon flamed out.

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