Final Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh gets their QB without a trade-up
By Scott Long
Another position of need for the Steelers is cornerback, and a player that the team has been linked to often this offseason has been Marcus Jones out of Houston. According to mockdraftable.com, Jones is listed at 5’8″, 174 lbs., which is undersized, but his play on tape shows for itself.
The Steelers have missed Mike Hilton since he left in free agency last year for the Cincinnati Bengals, and adding a player like Jones could be the way they can truly fill the void. The Steelers currently have Levi Wallace, Cameron Sutton, and Ahkello Witherspoon locked in on the depth chart, but with the league being so passing heavy, there is often a need for at least three, and oftentimes four cornerbacks on the field.
Jones may be undersized, but he has great ball skills, a knack for making splash plays, and a nose for the football. According to ESPN, Jones has 10 career interceptions in college, as well as a forced fumble. Despite his size, he is extremely physical and shows a willingness to stick his nose in and make tackles, which fits perfectly with what the Steelers look for in a cornerback, and is something the team loved having with Hilton.
Since he would play a lot in the slot, the Steelers would likely have him blitz often and play a lot in the running game, and there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t excel in that role in the NFL, while also doing his job covering slot receivers and making plays in the passing game.
Finally, while the team signed Gunner Olszewski in the offseason to be their return man, Jones is also dynamic as a returner and could make Olszewski expendable after this year. According to ESPN, Jones has nine career return touchdowns in college, which proves just how dangerous he can be in the open field, and how he provides even more valuable to the team than just as a cornerback.
Olszewski is strictly a special teams player, but Jones would provide value on defense, and special teams, and could free up some cap space by making Olszewski expendable.