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Mel Kiper picks Jarvis Jones as one first round defensive player who will have an early impact

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ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper says Jarvis Jones will be one rookie defensive player making a big impact this season.

Scott Cunningham

Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones made himself a very draftable commodity this past season in Athens by blitzing.

It's unclear why some teams would mention Jones only getting pressure off blitzing from that position as a negative thing. That alleged flaw in his game doesn't deter ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, either, who rates Jones as one of the three defensive players selected in the first round who will make an impact early in his career.

Kiper speaks a bit more generally to Jones' ability to get on the field right away. While he will likely see time in sub-package situations, it isn't likely from the beginning he will be a full-time starter, beginning in Week 1 when the Steelers host the Titans.

There hasn't been a rookie starter among the Steelers' defense since Dick LeBeau came back as the team's defensive coordinator in 2004. Not to suggest he can't do it (after all, the team hadn't drafted an outside linebacker in the first round since the team moved to a 3-4 defense in the early 80s), history isn't exactly on his side.

As far as making an impact, though, another Georgia rookie linebacker (who incidentally started in 2001), Kendrell Bell, was Defensive Rookie of the Year that season.