Does a player have to be "great" to justify being a first-round draft selection?
On Sunday, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette shared a conversation with Ken Herock, a longtime personnel evaluator. Herock believes Jones is a great human being, and his familiarity with a 3-4 defense makes him a great pick; but he isn't sold Jones will become a great NFL linebacker, like the man Jones is expected to replace - James Harrison.
"I was at Georgia's Pro Day and looked at his workout. He wasn't very good. He was one of those guys who was a great football player who doesn't test well."
"He'll be a player, he'll be a good player for them. He'll fit into their scheme. Will he be a great player? I can't say he will. Great players usually play great and test great. Those are the usual great players."
The biggest test Herock feels Jones failed, was the 40-yard dash at Georgia's pro-day.
"Ohhhh, only 4.9! Oh my god, how does he play that way? How does he do it?"
Herock may not know how Jones does it, but he does it just the same. Jones excelled at Georgia in a 3-4 defense playing the same role and doing the same things the Steelers will ask of him. If Jones' NFL career even remotely resembles his collegiate career, he can still meet the team's expectations for him.
Herock's main comparison seems to be between Jones and Harrison, although Herock acknowledges Harrison wasn't exactly a speed demon either. In fact, the argument could be made Jones tested better than Harrison, considering the rookie was a first-round pick and Harrison was an undrafted journeyman free-agent when he joined the Steelers for the final time, during the early stages of his career before he was a defensive player of the year.
While the verdict remains out on Jones' greatness, Herock still thinks Jones was a good selection for Pittsburgh.
"This kid, I don't see any problems. The community will like him, he'll be a good player for them. He's a great kid."
The only real tests Jones needs to worry about passing are those which lie in wait for him in the pre-season - Jason Worilds and Dick LeBeau's defense.