clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Howard Jones chose the Steelers over the Cardinals

New, comments

The Steelers were the top bidders for the services of the Division II undrafted free agent, topping their doppleganger, the Arizona Cardinals. Now it's time to see whether the latest version of Adrian Robinson can grow into the mold.

Score a small one for the original Steelers.

Pittsburgh was able to out-bid Steelers West - a.k.a. the Arizona Cardinals for the services of undrafted free agent outside linebacker Howard Jones, reported Tribune Review writer Alan Robinson.

And so far, so good, for the Division II uber-athlete.

He made it through the team's rookie minicamp, and looks to made an impact simply on his athletic ability. A Division II defensive end transitioning to Steelers outside linebacker can certainly be given some slack for a lack of immediate adjustment. Coaches don't mind projects with his speed and explosive ability.

According to Robinson, Jones thought Miami, Dallas or Arizona would draft him, Cleveland spoke with him during the draft and Arizona and Pittsburgh engaged in a bidding war for his services. Undrafted free agency has become its own microcosm of the draft itself, and the reason is the availability of players like Robinson. High level athleticism, low amount of polish equals priority free agent.

The right coaching, the right roster and some patience, who's to say Jones can't fulfill the expectations (perhaps unfair expectations) many had on Adrian Robinson - a similarly gifted and similarly inexperienced project the Steelers had for one and a half training camps. They had him in 2012, and traded him in the middle of camp in 2013 to Philadelphia for veteran running back Felix Jones. The Eagles released him and Robinson ended up with the Broncos and is now with the Redskins.

It just takes one team for a player to work out, and when he's been on five in three years, it's likely he has a lot of potential. Maybe that's Jones' fate as well. Hard is the life of a potentially talented player who can't get reps in the same defense in practice for a consistent amount of time.