The Pittsburgh Steelers have been in 2021 NFL Draft mode for more than two weeks, since their loss to the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card Round of the AFC Playoffs. The first major event of every pre-draft cycle is the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
As some of the best college football players flock to Alabama to show NFL teams what they are made of, it is also accompanied by reports of teams meeting with specific prospects. Sometimes the meetings are formal, while others are more informal, but it is still an opportunity for teams to get to know the players at a different level.
With COVID-19 still a concern, there weren’t as many NFL staff members there compared to previous events. For the Steelers, Mike Tomlin did not attend, but General Manager Kevin Colbert was in attendance.
According to Alan Saunders of SteelersNow, the Steelers met with a familiar face. That would be the University of Pittsburgh’s pass rusher Patrick Jones II. Here is what Saunders said about the visit:
Jones said he’s talked to a number of teams, but his interview with the Steelers stood out, and not just because they’re the team he’s spent the last five years practicing next to.
“When I was talking to the Steelers, they asked me, ‘Do you like winning more than you hate losing?’” Jones said. “That was something that I had really never thought of. That stuck with me.”
As for Jones, here is a glimpse of what Jones brings to a defense, courtesy of the Draft Network:
Pittsburgh defensive end Patrick Jones II takes his talents to the NFL after a strong junior and senior campaign where he racked up a combined 24 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks in 22 games. Jones II is a balanced defender, capable of making an impact as a pass rusher and run defender but he doesn’t offer much in the way of scheme-versatility—he’s a 4-3 defensive end with almost no experience in a standup role, dropping in coverage, or playing on the interior. As a pass rusher, Jones II is hard-charging out of his stance and brings a good variety of moves to the table. He’s a smart run defender that competes for his gap, processes quickly, and understands how to counter blocks. The concerns with Jones II entering the next level is his lean frame, modest length, and the need to continue developing his hand technique. Jones II has the upside to start in the NFL and command a majority of the snaps in an even front defense.
Ideal Role: Starting defensive end.
Scheme Fit: 4-3 defensive end.
This would be the first reported pre-draft visit for the Steelers, and more rumors very well could be circulating as the Senior Bowl week comes to a close. The next major event will be the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine, which will look very different this year. At this point we don’t know if we will get rumors of meetings with prospects, or if fans will have to wait till official pre-draft visits take place to get a feel for who the Steelers like in the upcoming draft process.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.